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Industry chiefs gather to co-ordinate plan to win European funding for research


INDUSTRY leaders will meet next week to devise a strategic research plan for construction.

It will be the first time the industry has come together to map out its own research needs without the Government leading the agenda.

Reform body Constructing Excellence will co-ordinate the plan, which will seek funding from Europe to kick-start a major construction research programme.

Chairman Bob White said: 'We have lost a decade at least of trying to raise the profile of research in our industry.

'The UK is missing out on an enormous amount of funding from Europe because it doesn't have the structure in place to bid for money.' Mr White warned that countries such as The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany had set up industry-specific working groups several years ago to capture investment earmarked for work to drive down costs, raise competitiveness and improve sustainability.

The UK group is being chaired by Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke, and includes experts from Balfour Beatty, Midas and Taylor Woodrow.

They are joined by clients, architects and materials producers.

Mr White added: 'Previous efforts to co-ordinate research have failed because they have viewed Government as the main client. We didn't ask the industry what it wanted and there was no relationship with academia.

'I hope this initiative will bring people together to talk with one voice.'