Ryder Architecture, in collaboration with Northumbria University lifted the Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration trophy at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards, held in association with Santander Universities UK. These awards, now in their 13th year and widely recognised as the “Oscars of higher education”, shine a spotlight on the exceptional achievements of individuals, teams and institutions.
Increasingly mandated by governments worldwide, successful building information modelling – the design, construction and management of buildings though the use of digital models – requires changes in processes that present significant challenges to the global construction sector.
As one of the UK’s leading practices in building information modelling, Ryder Architecture is praised for its innovative partnership with Northumbria University to create the BIM Academy. The joint venture provides knowledge and expertise on the application of digital 3D design, construction planning and asset management, and is a centre of excellence for BIM research, consultancy, training and education.
BIM Academy has helped to shape international uptake, conducting activities in the UK, Australia and Hong Kong as well as training schemes in mainland China.
Successful projects led by the academy include work on the Sydney Opera House and Durham Cathedral. Featured as one of three case studies submitted to the research excellence framework in 2014, it received a 4* outstanding score and continues to grow.
In 2015-16, BIM Academy generated £534,000 in direct consultancy income, £110,000 in training revenue and about £400,000 from research projects. The strength and quality of the partnership also supports many of Northumbria’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Judges praised the partnership for bringing “vital competitive advantage to the UK construction industry”.
This year’s gala ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London, and was hosted by comedian Al Murray. More than 1,100 guests – including the great and good of the higher education sector, as well as shortlisted entrants from institutions across the UK – gathered to celebrate the extraordinary talent, creativity and resourcefulness of our universities.
Winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges, from hundreds of entries submitted by universities from all corners of the UK.
Peter Barker, partner at Ryder and managing director of BIM Academy said, “It is very rewarding to see that our team’s hard work has paid off in growing our joint venture to be an internationally successful commercial business, as well as a centre of academic research excellence for the digital construction sector.”
THE editor John Gill said, “At a time when discussion about universities is too often reduced to terms of economic impact and output alone, the stories behind the winning entries this year tell a far richer story.
Universities remain crucial to the health and well-being of the country, as well as to its prosperity, and anyone who doubts that – or who thinks that excellence is the preserve of one segment of our system – need only read about our winners to see the evidence with their own eyes.”