Farid Vahdatikhaki applies I.T. in construction and civil engineering
“The biggest challenge in construction engineering is not technical at all. It is a communication and organisation issue that hinders the development and adoption of technological innovations”, says Farid Vahdatikhaki, Assistant Professor at the Department of Construction Management & Engineering of University Twente. “The construction industry is notorious for its slow adoption of new technologies. The industry is fragmented and lacks a common language for all stakeholders. I try to help by educating students who are both interested in new technologies and able to demonstrate the benefits of these technologies in an understandable way to involve and engage all stakeholders.”
The application of IT in civil engineering and construction management is Vahdatikhaki’s main interest. “I have always been interested in the best ways to apply and adopt new technologies like VR and machine learning in my research subjects. The main challenge is to use these technologies to solve practical problems, the practical application is essential for adoption by the stakeholders in our industries. If you are not able to showcase the immediate benefits or communicate this in an easy and understandable way, it will hinder or even prevent the adoption of your solution, regardless of its quality. The reason for this is the skill level and knowledge regarding IT, which is very diverse in the construction industry. This lack of involvement and engagement of stakeholders can hinder development and global adoption of new technologies in the construction and civil engineering industries.”
Since joining UT in 2016, the researcher has found the Dutch industry partners of the university to be an exception to the rule. “UT has a list of dedicated partners who are very engaged and want to push the boundaries of research and science. The only downside of focusing on the adoption and practical application of new technology is that it can obstruct further innovation. That is why I keep researching and showcasing technological innovations.”
Farid Vahdati has been teaching at the UT since 2016 but he has already managed to win the Best Teacher of the Year Award in Civil Engineering in 2017. In 2018, he was voted Best Teacher of the Year at UT. “I always encourage my students to be interactive, knowledge transfer should work both ways. They should be very innovative and be able to think out of the box and independently. But at the same time, they need to focus on the practical application of their solutions. Luckily, Dutch students are very good at finding that sweet spot.”
The Assistant Professor always has PhD- and Master-students in his research groups. “They come up with their own research ideas. The Master-students are required to contact companies to research practical problems for their theses, instead of research trends. I feel blessed and lucky to be able to develop and teach courses that are relevant to my research.”
Farid is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Construction Management and Engineering of Twente University. After completing his MSc. at Delft University of Technology in 2010, Farid moved to Canada where he pursued a PhD in construction management and engineering at Concordia University. In the course of his PhD project, he worked on the idea of smart earthmoving sites, where an integration of real-time location systems and near real-time simulation technique is used to boost the productivity and safety of earthmoving operations.
Farid’s research interests encompass areas such as simulation and visualization of construction processes, sensor and image based tracking of construction equipment, virtual reality and serious gaming applications in construction industry, near real-time systems for project monitoring and control and, Infrastructure and Building Information Modeling.
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