Sustainability at UCEM

Globe: UCEM’s Sustainability Strategy

Our core purpose reflects our commitment to sustainability:

“To provide truly accessible, relevant and cost-effective education, which enhances careers, increases professionalism and contributes to a sustainable built environment.”

UCEM’S role

We recognise our role as a leader and educator in creating a sustainable built environment. Through our teaching, operations, partnerships, and influence, we are committed to leading the way. By collaborating with others, we can build on our existing partnerships and leverage our collective strength to effect change.

Education is critical in driving innovation and growth in sustainability, and we believe it will accelerate our overall goals of protecting and adapting to the changing needs of our planet. As a specialised university focused solely on the built environment, our pre-defined scope enables us to concentrate our efforts where change is needed most. With global accessibility and a commitment to amplifying diverse voices, we strive to offer a more representative definition of sustainability.

Sustainability in our programmes

UCEM currently offers pathways for those in the built environment seeking to develop their sustainability expertise:

MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments
  • MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments aims to tackle the complexities of the built environment, allowing students to develop expertise in driving change, literacy, and leadership. It goes beyond addressing just carbon emissions, encompassing all aspects of sustainability aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • This programme is designed to equip students with the critical skills to navigate and lead organisations through sustainability challenges, transforming theory into action.

MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments programme page >

Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship
  • This is the apprenticeship route for MSc Innovation in Sustainable Built Environments, specialising in the leadership and management pathway.

Sustainability Business Specialist Apprenticeship programme page >

Sustainability is now integrated into all of our BSc (Hons) programmes, effective Autumn term 2024, through the addition of the module ‘Introduction to Sustainability’.

Explore our Online Academy for short CPD courses tailored for sustainability-based professional training and development.

World Leading research

Leading on research for a more sustainable built environment. Our aspiration is to deliver world-leading, co-created research that shapes built environments of the future, delivering global impact to support the creation of sustainable, resilient buildings that embrace ideas to improve the wellbeing and wider cultural lives of all citizens.

Think Tank

The role of Stakeholders in Materials Innovation

Join Dr Graeme Larsen and Dr Richard Davies on Thursday 9 May at 13:00 on the Materials Future stage.


UCEM’s Dr Graeme Larsen and Dr Richard Davies explore the future of materials and go beyond the limitations of a society determined by its technology. While the mainstream narrative places technological advancement within the sector as the magic fix for every and all sustainability challenges, this session will question that rhetoric for a more nuanced approach.

This session dives into an alternative perspective that considers the historical context of the past, current realities of the present, and future possibilities, exploring:

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Heritage materials
  • Innovation uptake
  • Supply chains
  • Buildings as material banks
  • Circular economy

Central to our discussion is the recognition of the role of stakeholder’s agency and interests in how we transition to future materials, along with the institutional norms around procurement and investment. We examine how different agents, whether they are at a niche, regime, or landscape level, shape the trajectory of material choices at various levels of influence and involvement.

Dr Graeme Larsen
  • Dr Graeme Larsen is the Associate Dean (Sustainability) at UCEM. He’s also a Visiting Professor at RMIT, Australia, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building as a Chartered Construction Manager, and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Dr Larsen also holds a key strategic international role within the prestigious International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), as coordinator for ‘Working Group 65 – Organization and Management in Construction’. Dr Larsen’s research interests currently reside in multilevel sustainability, wellbeing, retrofit, digital, robotics and exoskeleton technologies, change and innovation uptake.

Academic profile >

Dr Richard Davies
  • Dr Richard Davies is a Senior Lecturer at UCEM. He is an applied researcher and practitioner working at the interface between industry and academia, including universities, construction contractors, network infrastructure clients and many more. Notable recent contribution includes a Design Management Academy for both Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine.
  • Dr Davies specialises in innovation in construction, with emphasis on systems, processes and organisational psychology of change. His work encompasses digital transformation, design management, HSEQ management, production control, near-site manufacture, visualisation, and building safety, and has garnered numerous industrial research grant throughout his career.
  • A key theme in his work is creating and applying frameworks that support decision-making in the built environment.