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New Lectureship Supports Technical Leadership

7 June 2016

A new Costain sponsored lectureship at the University of Cardiff will help ensure Costain customers continue to benefit from cutting edge research.

Dr Robert Davies has been appointed as Costain Lecturer in Construction Materials at the University’s School of Engineering. A chartered civil engineer, he was previously Senior Research Associate on the Costain-sponsored Materials for Life (M4L) research project into self-healing concrete, partly carried out at the University of Cardiff.

Now, as Costain Lecturer, Robert combines research with the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

He says: “The role appealed because as well as being a researcher, I’ve also spent six years in industry and I was keen to maintain that link. In terms of research, I’ll be focusing on concrete as it’s an important material for Costain but I’ll also be investigating other areas they ask me to look into, or subjects I think might interest them. It’s very much a two-way relationship.”

Bill Hewlett, Costain Technical Director, agrees: “We have a long and good working relationship with Cardiff. The lectureship takes that relationship to the next step – it gives us what is effectively a permanent link to the university so that we now have a go to expert on subjects that interest us. And instead of collaborating on single research topics, we can now work together on a longer, more diverse research programme that will give us a growing body of expertise tailored to our customers’ needs.”

Collaboration is key to that relationship, says Professor Bob Lark, Dean of Education and Students for the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the University. “We’ll be having regular discussions with Costain and keeping one another informed of opportunities as they arise. A strong relationship with a company like Costain has significant benefits for us. As a university judged on its performance in research and teaching, it helps ensure what we do is of real benefit to the construction industry, and shows organisations like funding bodies that our work has real impact. And when it comes to teaching, our relationship with Costain helps us provide our students with the skills and experience they need to become future industry leaders.”

Following on from the creation of the Costain Lecturer post, Andrea Green, Costain Project Manager, has been invited to join the University of Cardiff’s Industrial Advisory Board. “I’ll be helping to make sure teaching at the University is relevant to the needs of a company like Costain,” she says. “We currently have a huge amount of work underway in South Wales and we recognize that a closer relationship with the University means better access to the vital skills we need to deliver those projects for our customers. It’s also a great opportunity for students to gain work experience on real world projects.”

The lectureship at Cardiff is, says Tim Embley, Group Innovation & Knowledge Manager at Costain, an important step in integrating leading research and delivery solution, “something that’s key to our business model. Making sure we have access to the best possible solutions is vital to the delivery of the outcomes our customers expect.”

Caption: Robert Davies, far right, with the M4L trial team at Costain's A465 Heads of the Valleys Project



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