Research into the future of university spaces
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With the world of higher education becoming ever more competitive on a global scale, universities face an increasing number of challenges in the coming decades. BuroHappold Engineering is undertaking an in-depth study into how the quality of university estates impacts on their ability to attract and retain students and researchers, and in turn how this affects student numbers, league table standings and funding opportunities.
We are inviting senior decision makers at universities across the UK and beyond to participate anonymously in the study to enable us to explore these issues in depth and provide high quality insight into the factors influencing the sector.
The UK university landscape has seen a sea change in recent years, with the relaxation of undergraduate numbers and the increase in tuition fees creating a market economy in the sector. This change in emphasis has led to universities making substantial investment to create spaces that attract potential students, enhance teaching and learning, and enable innovation.
Dr Mike Entwisle, BuroHappold’s Education Sector Director, explains “as an example, the UK higher education sector currently spends around £5 billion a year on capital assets. We want to understand how this spend can deliver campuses and buildings that will enable universities to equip themselves for future.”
Focusing on producing industry-leading research into education spaces that invest in driving innovation, our research seeks to establish how to develop the right environment and attract the very best of the next generation of leaders. The study also aims to capture the opinions of thousands of university students from a range of backgrounds, establishing how they choose where to study and the key drivers behind the decision-making process.
BuroHappold’s Dr Phil Hampshire, who is coordinating the research, explains what he hopes the outcome of the research will achieve: “Through this research we will be able to ascertain the real challenges facing universities over the coming years, and it will allow us to better understand how to develop future university buildings and estates in the most effective way possible. Additionally, the research will inform and guide how we as engineers deliver future focused solutions for the university sector, through in-depth knowledge of the needs of our clients and the needs of the students.”
Following the completion of the survey, the anonymised results will be published in a white paper and circulated to the participating universities. The paper will provide unique and invaluable insight into how well placed the UK’s university estates are to future proof their investment, and how the quality of teaching spaces and facilities impact on the experience of students, researchers and staff. Following this, we aim to broaden this study by approaching universities in the US, with its similar emphasis on world leading institutions in a consumer-led market economy. To sign up for the report when it is launched click here
For more information about the study, contact Dr Phil Hampshire.