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CICE success stories


Research Engineers: Sian Christina and Maria Spyrou

Sponsoring organisation: Tesco

Two EngD (CICE) projects at Loughborough University, both in partnership with Tesco, are proving a great example of practical academic and commercial collaboration. The first of the four-year projects is designed to make energy savings in Tesco stores through motivating staff to participate in energy reduction programmes.

Sian Christina carried out an evaluation of current energy management practice against a framework of motivational and environmental theories, leading to the development of some practical recommendations. As a result of her work, Tesco’s energy team carried out a successful pilot in 35 superstores, resulting in a 3% saving in energy consumption and the new processes have now been rolled out to around 700 Superstores, Metros and Extras across the UK.

The second project, being undertaken by Maria Spyrou, is taking a detailed look at the energy consumption data already collated by Tesco to devise an accurate computer modelling tool for understanding and predicting best practice energy consumption for all buildings in the Tesco estate. The tool will enable Tesco to quickly identify stores where energy performance best practice is not being attained and identify a list of remedial energy saving initiatives.

The partnership has been beneficial to both parties, says Richard Lee, Head of Sustainability and Electrical Power:

"Tesco has been at the forefront of engaging its staff with energy initiatives for some time, and the collaboration with Loughborough through CICE has helped us find an even higher level of performance. The EngD programme meets our needs perfectly, allowing the candidates to get real operational data to shape their research and our business decisions".

With the projects already in their second year, CICE and Tesco are hoping for continued effective partnership in developing successful energy practices that contribute towards future commercial results.



Research Engineer: Gary Robinson

Sponsoring Organisation: Hanson Structherm

Loughborough’s EngD Centre, CICE has a rising star among its Research Engineers. Gary Robinson was part of a winning research project for the Institution of Structural Engineers Model and Full Scale Testing Award 2011 and is a shortlisted finalist for the Institution of Structural Engineers Young Researcher of the Year 2012. But how did he do it?

Gary’s research combines the use of non-standard concrete mixes, reinforcement bar layouts, analysis techniques and design methods for the manufacture of precast concrete elements and structures. This led to the successful application of a novel design approach for the precast concrete panels made by Hanson Structherm, which is sponsoring his EngD.

An alternative precast slab using lightweight and sustainable aggregate replacement materials was produced, as well as an alternative computational procedure for the robustness assessment of buildings made from precast concrete.

Technical Director of Hanson Structherm, Ben Edmondson, is delighted. He says:

"Gary has worked successfully, both individually and as part of our wider R&D team, to progress a number of research and product development projects. Most of these research areas have already resulted in a direct business or cost-saving benefit.

"This is a remarkable project which is leading to high-impact product innovation in the precast concrete industry and reflects the strong relationship that CICE has developed with the construction industry."



Research Engineer: Peter Wilkinson

Sponsoring organisation: Fire Protection Association

Having 'discovered' the EngD programme at Loughborough, the Fire Protection Association think that it works really well and they are already committed to sponsoring a second research engineer. Technical Director, Dr Jim Glockling explains:

"In order to maintain our status as the leading fire safety organisation in the UK, we need to build and maintain a team who are acknowledged to be the UK’s, and often international, experts within their given area of expertise. Because it is a vocationally orientated doctorate, we see the EngD as a way to accomplish both of these aims."

The research that Peter Wilkinson, an Associate Director of the FPA, is undertaking as part of his EngD programme is central to the FPA’s remit and therefore integral to the organisation’s commercial strategy. Furthermore, sponsoring an existing employee enables the FPA to actively support Peter’s personal and professional development.

With a degree in civil engineering, an MSc in fire and explosion and 13 years working in the fire protection industry, Peter was looking for ways to further develop his skills and career prospects. The EngD provides a way for him to achieve a doctorate whilst continuing in his job role. The fact that his EngD research was recently recognised, when he became the 'Student of the Year' at the Continuity, Insurance and Risk (CIR) Business Continuity Awards, would seem to indicate that Peter's career ambitions to have established an international reputation as a UK expert are going according to plan.

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