Fostering Process Innovations in Construction through Industry-University Consortium

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University research efforts have not been effective in developing lasting impacts on operations management in construction due to inadequate coordination between academia and industry. This study describes the development of an industry–university relationship that enabled the conduct of practically and scientifically relevant research.

Design research was carried out between 2016 and 2019 to build a consortium between a university and seventeen design, construction, technology and logistics companies for enabling process innovations in construction. The consortium conducted industry-funded research on various topics, such as takt production, lean design management, prefabrication, measurement of waste and business models supported by digitalisation. The academic and practical impacts of the consortium’s research projects were investigated through a survey and in-depth company interviews.

The paper presents a conceptual model for creating an industry–university relationship to support scientifically and practically relevant research. The model includes network architects who mobilised consortium development and a joint governance body that developed a shared long-term vision and selected research topics based on this vision. The results show that using the model’s approach, the consortium selected research topics that have led to both academic publications and process innovations in construction.

Using empirical data, this study describes how to create a win-win industry–university innovation relationship that enables the implementation of process innovations into the construction sector and, at the same time, the conduct of scientific research in construction management.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Early online date27 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Process innovation, Operations management, Construction, Consortium, Design research, Industry-university relationship

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