About Engineering Thinking
Exploring the big issues that will affect us – and how we can tackle them – is a key part of how we as engineers play an essential role in the future of our world.
We encourage education, discussion and debate, bringing together like-minded people in our industry to think about the things that impact us and what we can do to make a difference. The Happold Foundation believes that urbanisation, scarcity of resource and climate change are key areas that need our focus.
From raising awareness amongst those who can help us instigate change, to working closely with others in the sector to identify actions that need to be taken, we centre on exploring ideas and solutions to improve the foundations of our communities. We want our work to reach the widest possible audience, promoting how engineers can change the path of the built environment for the benefit of all.
Research & Travel Scholarships
The entire experience has greatly widened my knowledge and appreciation of structural innovation and design.
John Orr, Happold Foundation Alumni
As engineers we are constantly striving for new ways to solve problems and improve the built environment for all. The Happold Foundation provides support and guidance for research that will have a positive impact on our world, both in developed and developing countries.
Our Collaborative Research programme offers grants to fund academic research that really pushes the boundaries, exploring ways of influencing change, particularly in the areas that fall between disciplines in the built environment. We want to hear about all opportunities to fund exciting research projects across the globe.
We offer travel scholarships to students, academics and practitioners to fund their journeys to where they are carrying out their research. We will consider applications from researchers who want to draw comparisons between the built environment from their primary location and another, or if they need to travel to take part in a project or event that shares the Happold Foundation’s values.
Read about the projects we have supported with a travel scholarship.
Education is important at all stages of a career in the build environment. We run a number of different public lectures throughout the year that are designed to inform and challenge those working in and studying the built environment. Hosted by experts in their field, our lectures cover topics that we as a charity consider to be vital to the development of our industry and society as a whole.
We believe in making education wide reaching, engaging and assessable, so we offer a range of lectures on different specialist areas for engineers at various stages of their careers.
Forming a key part of our events calendar, 2017’s Happold Lecture was held on April 5 in New York. The lecture featured keynote speaker Harriet Tregoning, and explored the physical and social consequences of climate change in the US.
Happold Foundation Happold Lecture
2016 – ‘Climate Change: Been there, seen that, proved it?’ by Emily Shuckburgh, Deputy Head of the Polar Ocean Division at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), 17 March 2016 IET Savoy Place
Ted Happold Memorial Lecture, Royal Society of Arts
2006 ‘Adapting to a Changing Coastline in East Anglia’
Prof. Tim O’Riordan, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia and working with the Tyndale Centre of Climate Change Research on a project aimed at designing sustainable coast lines for the future.
2004 ‘New Ways of Engineering for Developing Economies’
2001 ‘Urban Engineering for Sustainable Development’
Prof. Peter Guthrie, Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development, Cambridge University
1999 ‘Do You Want to Control the Temperature?’
Prof. Max Fordham OBE, Vice President, CIBSE
1998 ‘Representation in Building’
Steven Groak, Director, Ove Arup
Construction Industry Council Happold Lecture (CIC)
2013 – ‘Collective responsibility for a sustainable industry’, by Robin Nicolson CBE, former chairman of the Construction Industry Council (1998 – 2000)
2012 – ‘Who holds the pencil?’ by Keith Clarke CBE, former chairman of the Construction Industry Council (2008-2010),
2011 – Can we get there from here?’ by Paul Morrell, OBE, the government’s Chief Construction Adviser
2008 – ‘Engineering Sustainable Architecture‘
by Patrick Bellew, Founding Director of Atelier Ten – Royal Aeronautical Society – Boeing Room
2007 – ‘House Building – A Lost English Art?‘
by Sir Peter Hall, Professor of Planning at the Bartlett School of Architecture & Planning, University College London and President of the Town and Country Planning Association
2005 – ‘The Regeneration of Manchester – The Rebuilding of The City‘
by Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council – Institute of Civil Engineers, Telford Hall
2001 – ‘Building Sustainable Britain plc‘
by Tessa Tennant, Co-founder of the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia, and is on the UK Government’s Advisory Committee for Business and the Environment – Guildhall, City of London
2000 – ‘Natural Capitalism, The Next Industrial Revolution‘
by Amory Lovins, Chief Executive of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Colorado, USA – RIBA Florence Hall
1998 – ‘Building for the Future: Town and Country in Sustainable Development‘
by Sir Crispen Tickell GCMG KCVO, Convenor of the British Government Panel on Sustainable Development – Church House, Westminster
We believe that knowledge sharing and debate are essential to both our personal growth as engineers and to the offering we have as a profession overall. So, the Happold Foundation host a series of conversations that are designed to encourage engaging thought leadership discussions around key topics in the industry.
From addressing issues such as global energy issues in the UK to considering next steps for urban development in the UK, we provide neutral ground for people from all backgrounds to come and participate in discovering solutions for today’s challenges. Our conversations lead to real answers; encouraging some of the most influential industry leaders and some of the rising stars in our sector to input into the debate.
We have three Conversations coming up over the next couple of months:
City Conversations: The Living City
Tuesday 23 May 2017. 6.00 – 8.00pm
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT
The potential for a smart built environment is huge. Why have cities thus far failed to make the promised leaps forward? There needs to be a new way of thinking to surmount the opportunities that are undoubtedly maturing. Policy, leadership, joined-up initiatives and more pioneering examples are often seen as ingredients that will turn opportunity into projects. But there are notable exceptions such as the energy sector, driven by economics and legislation, and transport where the high-tech disrupters have exciting visions and deep pockets. Can we learn more from these? Most importantly, how does the ordinary citizen get benefit from ‘the smart city’ and drive demand?
Chairing: Rob Moyser, Director BuroHappold Engineering
Steve Lewis – Living Planet
Steve Wells – FastFuture
City Conversations: Skyscraping
Wednesday 21 June 2017. 6.00 – 8.00pm
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT
Skyscraping – everything you wanted to know about tall buildings but were afraid to ask. A discussion around the perceived need for cities to build taller and for the construction industry to compete in satisfying that demand. Does this obscure a more important discussion around density and city planning and the sustainability of tall buildings? We need tall buildings to satisfy the demand for living space in a compact city, for example. But how tall is healthy for the environment or the occupant. Why are clusters seen as desirable and why can we not get over the stigma left by previous generations of tall buildings?
Chairing: Neil Billet, Design Director BuroHappold Engineering
Simon Allford, AHMM
Klaus Bode, Chapman BDSP
Joana Goncalves, University of Sao Paolo
City Conversations: Joining the dots: how to create the right ‘system of cities’ in the UK
Wednesday 5 July 2017. 6.00 – 8.00pm
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT
Exploring economic and infrastructure issues beyond London and the South East. Post-Brexit, the UK’s economic and international competitiveness will depend on all cities being able to reach their full potential. Furthermore, our major cities need to be able to have the right relationship with each other in both economic and infrastructure terms, to aid the flow of people, ideas and capital. Cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds have, arguably, not enjoyed the same investment and growth as the capital. Can we correct our regional imbalances through infrastructure investment alone? How can London respond better to disparities between the regions? And how can UK cities become even more specialised in the creation of high-value, technology-based products and services.
Chairing: Jim Coleman Head of Economics and Business Planning, BuroHappold Engineering
Invited participants: TBC
Find out more about previous Conversations on our news and events page.
2014 – 15:
Energy Conversations is a series of informative thought-leadership discussions around the supply and use of energy. Aimed at planners, developers, designers, suppliers and building occupiers they explore key political, planning and technical issues which influence sustainable buildings. In this third year of events, we are looking at City Energy strategies including Demand Management, Heat, Transport, Energy and Waste and Keeping Cool. They are produced by BuroHappold with ngenuity Ltd, sponsored by The Happold Foundation and supported by Rehau and The Building Centre.
1. City Heat Strategies – Normally London consumes twice as much heat as power, but heating is often overlooked in the energy debate. “City heat strategies” was therefore our focus for the latest Energy Conversations event, supported jointly by the Happold Foundation and REHAU. Is it possible to be smarter with how we generate and distribute heat in the UK? Are district heating networks appropriate for the UK, and can Copenhagen’s success with district heating be replicated? These were the questions that our five speakers were asked to consider when presenting at the event.
Panel: Chris Twinn, consultant; Ian Manders, UK Policy Advisor; Lars Fabricus, expert in supplying low carbon technology solutions; Fiona Cochrane, Which?
2. City Transport Strategies – How are we going to reach the carbon targets of 2050, how might our cities look, and importantly, how do we persuade people to change their habits?
Panel: Sebastian Sealing, BuroHappold Berlin office; Prof Sir Andy Haines, London School of Tropical Medicine; Christian Wolmar, UK Policy Advisor
3. Demand Management – The winter is coming and the electricity industry is already nervous since excess supply capacity will only exceed demand by 4% during winter 2014-15. This was one of many topics covered in the “Energy Conversations” event on Demand Management which was supported jointly by the Happold Foundation and REHAU and marked the start of this year’s “Energy Conversations” series. However, this winter’s notice of insufficient system margin (NSIM) is only one of the problems that the UK’s electricity industry has to face in order to provide secure, affordable and sustainable supplies. How did we actually reach this critical point and are there any solutions? Our four knowledgeable contributors to the debate provided varied perspectives on this difficult challenge.
Panel: Professor Goran Strbac; Sara Bell of Tempus Energy; Yoav Zingher of KIWI Power; David Boyer from UK Power Networks (UKPN)
4. Energy & Waste – Over the past 20 years not much has changed in the way we manage and utilise our waste in the UK. Each year we export around 8m tonnes of waste to Europe for energy production, reducing the burden on our small number of energy-from-waste plants whilst simultaneously filling the void on the continent, here waste is in short supply relative to installed capacity. But is the UK also in danger of heading toward over capacity? Could this create problems for meeting our recycling targets of 70% by 2030? And how are we managing in city centres, where disposal and extraction of energy from waste streams is a particular challenge?
Panel: Paul Yates; Arthur Kay, Bio-Bean; Angle Bywater, Methanogen; Peer Selkirk, Pyropure
City Conversations is a series of informative thought-leadership open discussions around the big issues that are changing our cities – growth, technology, resource efficiency and climate change. The Conversations will address not only the new and changing infrastructure of cities but also the how these are brought about and their impact on the lifestyle and wellbeing of citizens. The Conversations are produced by The Happold Foundation with ngenuity Ltd and supported by Rehau and The Building Centre.
1. The Invisible City [Smart cities]
25 February 2016
If a city’s wellbeing is defined by its infrastructure how do we make sure we are engaged with the new ‘smart’ technologies of the modern economy? How can we use these technologies to make the invisible city visible?
2. The Material City [Materials]
8th March 2016
Are the traditional materials of a city part of its essential identity or are they no longer fit for purpose? Must environmental and wellbeing considerations take precedence when deciding how we build? Should infrastructure by recyclable or is it there in perpetuity?
3. Why should Cities Grow? [City Growth]
6th April 2016
In some ways the modern city is defined not by formal boundaries but by its transport and ICT links. Does the rapidly changing market economy therefore contradict traditional notions of city planning? Are we taking the right approach to our suburban hinterland and ‘green belt’? How can we maintain a sustainable and resilient city in terms of competitiveness, employment, transport, housing and quality of life?
4. How are Infrastructure decisions made? [Decision Making]
11th May 2016
How are city infrastructure decisions made? Is there the right balance of democracy, political expediency, long-term planning? Who provides the finance?
5. Home in the City [Housing]
15th June 2016
Can housing be considered part of the infrastructure of a city. Do new forms of living live/working become part of the ‘competitive fabric of the city. How can we ensure housing become community?
Workshops & Sprints
We provide funding to run workshops that explore how we can take action on issue facing the built environment. Workshops the Happold Foundation has funded have featured a diverse range of topics, all aimed at starting the discussion around how engineering can offer solutions for people and communities.
Recently we have been involved in a workshop at the Metropolitan solutions conference in Berlin, which aimed to support Germany’s response to the current refugee crisis. Discussions included how to create a sense of place for people displaced on the outskirts of the city.
We are interested in exploring the difference in perspective when considering changes in technology in different environment. Our sprint series sets a brief for a short, four-hour workshop that can be run by different organisations in different geographic locations. The brief is built around exploring how a change enabled by future technology could change the way we live in our environment.
The outputs from all the workshops are then shared to allow comparison of the different perspectives, each based on the same brief. The first of these sprints has explored the potential impact of automatic guided vehicles on the design of our urban environment.
If you would like to enter a team in one of our sprints please contact email@example.com
Implementation & Competitions
As well as supporting people in our sector with research and study, we are also here to help get projects off the ground. We offer grants to help put good ideas into practice, supporting projects that can benefit communities and the lives of people living in them.
An example of how we support the implementation of ideas is shown in our work with the Constructive Collaboration initiative. This project aims to show the benefits of working together across industries to fuse skill sets, delivering integrated solutions with the best possible results. The Foundations involvement has continued as the initiative moves into its next phase where guidelines are being developed.