Digital technologies are rapidly expanding and eminent in all parts of society and our economy. In the infrastructure life cycle, the industry currently is implementing BIM in the design phase, monitoring and predictive technologies in the construction phase, sensors and simulations of use, wear and tear in the operation phase, and modelling and data analysis for optimization throughout the life cycle. Up to now, the trajectories are driven by the challenges per domain and phase and digital tools are seen as enablers. In the (near) future, the trajectories per phase and domain will (have to) merge. Aiming for Circularity exposes the incompatibilities between the digital tools and technologies over the projects’ life cycle. A genuine life cycle perspective requires data integration and integrated decision-making for Asset Management and Project delivery. Therefore, we intend to go beyond digital technologies as enablers per phase and take the necessity to integrate digitally over the life cycle as the starting point and focus for our programs, research and development.
This vision extends into our education programs. The BSc modules provide the basic skills and knowledge on Construction Engineering, Project Management, Sustainability and new technologies. In the MSc programme, students are obligated to do one-third of their coursework related to challenges for the near future (the MSc “CM&E Foundation”):
- systems engineering;
- sustainable civil engineering;
- infrastructure asset management;
- digital technologies;
- project/process management;
- legal and governance
Other available MSc courses build on and deepen this CM&E Foundation and create the bridge towards thesis projects related to ongoing research projects. To operate at the frontier of knowledge and practice, we go to great lengths to combine research and education. We expect staff to teach as well as do research. The BSc, MSc, PDEng and PhD programmes are structured and thesis projects are related to ongoing research in the department. By selecting certain application domains, we build and secure stable networks with industry ( e.g. road building, utilities, procurement, purchasing, public clients). We value ‘scientific excellence’ as well as ‘societal relevance’ and follow an ‘engaged scholarship approach’. MSc theses have a dual output [a] a proposed conference paper and [b] a research report for the ‘thesis client’. Due to this, our MSc graduates have a close to 100% job placement rate after their graduation; many of them taking on leadership roles within their firms already after only a few years of employment.