news from BRE

published: 30/7/2012

BRE Trust research funding tops £3 million

Report from the BRE Trust Annual General meeting 2012

“I am delighted to announce that a strong performance by the Trust’s subsidiary companies has allowed us to once again increase the level of funding for built environment research and education. This is despite the continuing challenges of a very difficult financial environment, and is testament to the expertise and dedication of those working in the BRE Group.”
Sir Neville Simms, Chairman of the BRE Trust.

At the BRE Trust AGM today, Sir Neville Simms announced that the net profit of the BRE Group – comprising BRE, BRE Global and FBE Management – increased to £4.58 million in 2011/12. This was based on a turnover of £48.9 million. The Trust’s spending on built environment research and education projects rose to more than £3.17 million, compared with £2.93 million in 2010/11.

New call for ‘Future Cities’

The BRE Trust runs a "responsive mode" research programme which comprised 34 active projects during 2011/12, covering a very broad range of built environment issues, and a "thematic" research programme currently focussing on low impact materials, products and processes, and comprising 15 active projects.

“In addition to the current projects and a call for new proposals under the responsive mode programme,” said Sir Neville, “we have put out a call for proposals under Phase 1 of our new thematic research programme, ‘Future Cities’ – with a budget of £775,000”.

Relevant and up-to-date publications “imperative”

“The Trust recognises the important public benefit to be gained from providing a fully co-ordinated, core programme of publications that meet the needs of those working in the built environment,” said Sir Neville. “BRE and BRE Global publications are often definitive sources of data, information and knowledge used by the construction industry, and many are referred to in legislation.  It is imperative that they are kept up to date and relevant.”

Sir Neville reported that, in addition to seven titles arising directly from the research programme, the Trust’s publications programme supported 34 new titles in 2011/12.   For the third successive year the BRE Trust has given financial support for the free on-line magazine, which offers the latest news and opinion on sustainability issues in the built environment.

Centres of excellence

Sir Neville noted the importance of the collaborative relationship with the BRE Universities Centres of Excellence, and the Chairs and PhD students who receive financial support from the BRE Trust. The five Chairs are based at:

  • University of Edinburgh– Centre for Fire and Safety Engineering
  • University of Strathclyde– Centre for Energy Utilisation
  • University of Bath – Centre for Innovative Construction Materials
  • Cardiff University – Centre for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment and Centre for Sustainable Engineering.

At the end of 2011/12 there were 30 active, part or fully funded PhD students in the BRE Trust postgraduate scholarship scheme.

Researchers of the future

For the seventh consecutive year the BRE Trust has provided Parmiter’s School in Watford with support and financial assistance to enable a group of sixth form pupils to participate in the Engineering Education Scheme (England), which is part of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s ‘Best’ programme. 

The scheme gives pupils the opportunity to work on a project, guided by a mentor, which allows them to experience science, engineering and technology first hand.  This year’s Trust supported students carried out a project on, “Design for interactive software/hardware training tool for fire panel companies” with BRE Global. They again won a gold CREST award in the British Association for the Advancement of Science CREST scheme.

Building on success

Sir Neville reported on BRE Trust’s many other activities, including collaborations with NHBC [National House Building Council] and WRAP [Waste & Resources Action Programme], and support for several research and training conferences and symposia. He highlighted the BRE Trust Review 2011, which details all the BRE Trust’s activities, and provides summaries of recently completed research projects and publications. It is available in hard copy or electronically at no charge.

“Despite the difficult economic environment, the BRE Trust has been able to increase its support for research and education throughout 2011/12,” concluded Sir Neville, “and plans to continue building on this success during 2012/13.”

For more information contact David Penn, BRE Trust Secretary: Tel 01923 664744. Email