Ruoheng Zhang - PhD candidate 2018 - present

Background: This project seeks to work with leading firms in the region bounded by Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield to improve capabilities in the systems integration in digitally enabled modular building through the construction supply base. There is substantial policy interest in off-site modular building in the UK, and the aim of this project is to increase the competitiveness of the UK industry involved in digitally enabled modular building.

Aim & Objectives: The objectives of this project are to:

 Develop capacity in the regional systems integration ecosystem;

  1. Map systems integration activities across the regional supply chain;
  2. Tailor emerging tools and processes for systems integration to the SMEs in this regional supply chain;
  3. Monitor the use of tools by SMEs in the supply chain and further develop the generic toolkit;
  4. Pilot new tools for the visualization of systems in digitally-enabled modular building supply chains; and
  5. Disseminate best practice on the use of tools for systems engineering in infrastructure, drawing on recent research and developments in the international research community.

Research Programme: The main activities will consolidate and apply knowledge to develop capacity in the regional systems integration ecosystem and to improve capabilities in the systems integration in digitally enabled modular building through the construction supply base. This involves four workpackages: Mapping the systems integration activities within the regional innovation system (WP1); Tailoring emerging tools and processes for systems integration (WP2); Monitoring tool-use (WP3); and Piloting new tools for visualization (WP4).

Key Dates

October 2018: Initiation meeting and kick-off workshop

February 2019: Map of the regional systems integration ecosystem, summarised in a report, developed following project stakeholder meeting and kick-off event in the region.

May 2019: New bespoke set of tools for systems integration, tailor emerging tools and processes for systems integration in this regional supply chain.

May 2020: Impacts of ongoing dissemination of existing knowledge and refined toolkit. Monitoring the use of tools by SMEs in the supply chain and further develop the generic toolkit.

Feb 2021: Project completion, with project outputs published into research literatures summarised in a final report.

Expected outcomes and impacts: The project will support a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, bringing new ideas into the region to benefit regional stakeholders in construction and infratech, including SMEs, through knowledge transfer and through developing novel advanced manufacturing approaches to delivery of infrastructure. The anticipated outcomes include: Increased capacity of the supply base to develop integrated systems - providing higher quality outputs to building and infrastructure clients; Use of internationally leading research to improve systems integration across a range of stakeholders in the supply base; Use of tailored tools for systems integration; Better engagement of SMEs in services associated with systems integration.

CONTACT DETAILS AND FUNDING INFORMATION
For further information, please contact Zhang, Ruoheng: ruoheng.zhang14@imperial.ac.uk doctoral candidate, or her supervisor: Prof. Jennifer Whyte (j.whyte@imperial.ac.uk). The PhD is located within the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College, and is co-sponsored by a departmental Dixon scholarship and Royal Academy of Engineering Regional Development Award.

RAE