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Industry-Academic Change: Transfer the CONSTRUCTIONarium model to Materials?

Prof Alison Ahearn and Oliver Broadbent | Imperial College London and Think Up

Industry-Academic Change:  Transfer the CONSTRUCTIONarium model to Materials?

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The Constructionarium is a week-long fieldcourse which made a step-change impact on construction education via an academic-industry partnership. It is a hands-on, fast-track construction experience for up to 100 students at a time. Students build four-storey towers or 20m steel bridges in five days flat. It replaced paper-glue classroom exercises with genuine construction using real engineering materials, real plant, facing real risks producing tangible, large structures. Working as firms of contractors, students handle 'the buck stops here' decision-making pressure. It has spread from Imperial to 16 UK universities since 2003. Industry and academia have invested heavily, creating a sophisticated learning resource. Lately, the hands-on, brains-on concept has extended to chemical engineering via the 'Nuclear Island Big Rig' scheme, addressing the undersupply of nuclear-aware engineers. That adaptation has inspired the authors to present kickstarter ideas on how Materials education might adapt the concept/resource, including ideas on how industry-academe can co-operate.