The University has signed an agreement with Clarke’s charity, the Ministry of Building Innovation & Education (Mobie), to work together to drive innovation in designing and delivering homes for the future.
The new Mobie Northumbria Homes for the Future Innovation Centre will help businesses involved in the design and delivery of homes access the latest in research and innovation at Northumbria University.
Mobie was founded by Clarke in 2017 to promote innovation and the charity currently works with a number of schools, colleges and universities. However, this is the first time that Mobie has focussed on embedding research and innovation into businesses.
The centre will investigate new methods of construction, design, offsite manufacture, digital competencies and materials with the aim of making house-building a more efficient and precise process.
Over the next three years, Northumbria will offer a total of 15 co-funded PhD studentships to work with industry partners through the centre. The University will jointly fund the studentships, meaning businesses will invest roughly £10,000 per year for each of the three years.
Clarke said: “One of the best ways that we can address the current housing crisis is by implementing digital technologies to build next generation homes quicker, at a lower cost and with less environmental impact. To do that, we need to provide businesses in the construction sector with affordable access to the very latest in research and development.
“By partnering with Northumbria University and appointing doctoral students to work with the businesses, we can ensure we are passing on the very latest in research and thinking into the building sector to transform the way it works.
“Ultimately, we want to create better quality homes that will drive a better quality of life for everyone living in them.”
Dr Paul Jones, professor of scholarship in architecture at Northumbria University said: “We are so pleased to be working with George and the team at Mobie on this new initiative.
“By opening our doors to businesses, we will be able to work with them to develop truly innovative techniques that will create positive change in the industry, create high quality homes for those who need them and help businesses by driving growth.
“We are already speaking to businesses who are keen to benefit from this new opportunity and we welcome contact from any other businesses who might be keen to find out more.”
Recruitment is already underway for industry partners and the first PhD students, in time for the centre to officially begin operating from April 2020.