The Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology will be used for research and teaching

Cambridge University announced today that it will open a Laing O’Rourke centre specialising in construction.

The contractor is funding a new Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology at Cambridge as part of a multi-million pound collaboration. The agreement was signed today by Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Alison Richard and Laing O’Rourke chief executive Ray O’Rourke.

The centre will be used for research and teaching, with a view to providing the industry with new engineers and managers. Courses will include undergraduate, masters, PhDs, post-doctoral research and “executive education”.  

Ray O’Rourke said: “I believe the engineering and construction profession has reached a critical crossroads in its development – it has for too long relied on traditional skills and approaches, often failing to keep pace with the political, social and economic demands of modern society. It must once again attract the very best talent, apply radical thinking, embrace new technologies and innovate in a way that removes waste and inefficiency and creates the greatest value for the world’s communities.

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, head of the university’s engineering department said:  “I am excited by the potential of this new centre to develop novel solutions to the challenges of constructing a built environment that is sustainable whilst providing for the needs of society to supply energy, water, shelter, and a transport infrastructure on which economic well-being depends.

The opening of the centre will be marked by an “inaugural Laing O’Rourke Distinguished Lecture” on 25 November. The speaker will be Bill Baker, structural engineering partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who developed the core of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure.