Cambridge University Reporter

Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Professorship of Sustainable Design

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. Sustainability is one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world. As a consequence, the architectural community has accorded the greatest importance to work in sustainable design in order to achieve an improved quality of life without imposing unsustainable demands on natural resources. Work in sustainable design encompasses urban and transport design, in addition to building and component design. Research in the field generally focuses on developing architectural and urban spaces that are culturally acceptable, environmentally friendly, economically efficient, socially inclusive, and aesthetically pleasing but do not compromise soundness of construction. Within these general values, work in sustainable building adopts a cross-disciplinary approach to the delivery of designs in practice, covering issues ranging from the fundamental principles of building construction and materials through to the analysis of procurement routes.

2. Teaching and research in the Department of Architecture has been focused historically within the three main areas: Sustainable Design, History and Theory, and Digital Imaging. In the Easter Term 2004 a Working Group, set up by the Board to consider options for the future of the Department of Architecture, advised of the need for a significant, and sustainable, improvement in the Department's research. In the Group's view, this would be best achieved if the Department concentrated its research efforts in the area of sustainable design since work in this field was generally considered to represent overall the Department's strongest research performance. The Group also recommended that, subject to the Board accepting the academic case and to the availability of funds, there should be a number of new appointments, including a Professorship, in fields within sustainable design. This would facilitate the Department's aspirations of playing a leading international role in this area, whilst the new Professor would be expected to provide strong leadership at this critical time for the restructured Department.

3. This recommendation was approved by the Board, with the support of the Department of Architecture, the Faculty Board of Architecture and History of Art, and the Council of the School of Arts and Humanities.

4. In recognition of the academic and strategic importance that they accord to securing a viable future for the Department of Architecture, the Council of the School of Arts and Humanities have agreed to make recurrent resources available to support the establishment of a Professorship for one tenure from 1 October 2005. In addition, a University Lectureship in the same general area as that of the new Professorship will be established. The funding for these new offices has become available following the Board's approval of the School's academic plan for the Department which entails, inter alia, a reduction in its permanent establishment. Meanwhile, the Council of the School's plans for Architecture have made provision for both the Professor and the new University Lecturer to be accommodated within the Department's Scroope Terrace building.

5. The Department has made the case that the new offices should be filled in the important field of sustainable building. The establishment of a Professorship would strengthen teaching provision in this area as well as providing leadership for the development of a consolidated research strategy which would incorporate a number of the cognate research interests that presently exist in the Department. It should also lead to an increase in the Department's external research grant income. The Department has advised the General Board that the Professorship is likely to attract a strong field of well-qualified applicants. The General Board have accepted this case and accordingly propose that a Professorship of Sustainable Design be established in the University for one tenure from 1 October 2005 and assigned to the Department of Architecture. The Board have agreed that the election to the Professorship should be made by an ad hoc Board of Electors and that candidature should be limited to persons whose work falls within the field of sustainable building.

6. The General Board accordingly recommend:

That a Professorship of Sustainable Design be established in the University for one tenure from 1 October 2005, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Architecture.

16 February 2005ALISON RICHARD, Vice-ChancellorM. J. DAUNTOND. W. B. MACDONALD