Innovation is about finding new ways of doing things and, in today's construction industry, leading clients expect to see their suppliers investing in research, particularly to improve processes, productivity and management.
Often this will be a short, in-house exercise taking a few days or weeks. Sometimes it will entail a bigger project taking many months, with significant initial costs before the benefits are delivered.
This briefing explains the sources of funding to help construction businesses with research and innovation projects.
Before you take the plunge, familiarise yourself with some of the acronyms in construction research-funding circles:
CBPP Construction Best Practice Programme, a government-sponsored initiative to encourage improvements in the construction process.
CIB Construction Industry Board, the pan-industry body set up to implement the Latham and Egan philosophies of improvement in construction.
CIRM Construction Innovation & Research Management Division. The part of the DETR in charge of research funding.
CRISP Construction Research and Innovation Strategy Panel. Part of the CIB, this is a sort of facilitator between researchers, funders and industry clients.
DETR The government Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, which is responsible for the construction industry.
EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, largest of the seven government research councils.
IDAC Integrated Design & Construction; a funding scheme operated under the EPSRC 'LINK'programme.
IMI The Innovative Manufacturing Initiative, operated by EPSRC.
MCNS Meeting Client Needs through Standardisation; a funding programme operated under the EPSRC 'LINK' programme.
PII Partners In Innovation, under which DETR will meet up to half the cost of a research project.