...for Innovation and New Product Development in Architecture and the Built Environment: UK - Brazil Collaboration

GIC is a network of research linking Higher Education Institutions in the UK and Brazil. GIC aims to operate at the nexus of product design, urban design and planning, architecture and construction engineering and management. It draws similarities and differences in relation to project types, characterisation of product and service types as well as different methodologies drawn from theory and practice-based principles.


The Architecture and Built Environment sectors are of fundamental importance to the economy of any country as they employ a significant number of people, many with a low skill base and often determine the quality of infrastructure for services and for other sectors. Importantly, the quality of the Built Environment correlates closely to other indicators such as healthy living, learning outcomes, healthcare delivery, social cohesion, etc.

Thr Architecture and Built Environment sectors offer unique challenges when compared to other sectors related to its structure e.g. fragmentation, business drivers, skill base, etc. as well as its theoretical base. There is global acceptance that improvements related to the conceptualisation, delivery and use of the Buile Environment can bring about significant improvements in the socio-economic - technical sphere. Indeed, the long-term impact is solely at the social sphere e.g. failing social environments, poor housing and infrastructure, unworkable spaces, etc.

The global literature is full of cases of social housing and regeneration initiatives failing to deliver long and lasting benefits to society. These failings are located at policy and business, flowing through to design, construction and use (DCU) as well as decommissioning. This process is referred to as New Product Development (NPD). It is therefore critical that future studies focus at the nexus of DCU and NPD and redefine, recalibrate and produce new models and processes that also establish the evidence base. In doing so the link and bridge between the sector and its impact on society needs to be better understood, articulated and chartered in relation to key research issues, questions and initiatives, globally.

Lean thinking has been at the forefront of global initiatives, including built environment, in optimising the performance of the sector from within and increasingly so it addresses broader and wider issues related to use and operation. It is this bridge between internal performance and wider benefits that we aim to bring about in establishing the GIC. In doing so we hope that we can expand the knowledge base and generate global socio-economic and technical impact.

The partnership

This partnership involves the University of Huddersfield and 12 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in Brazil, namely:

  • UFRGS - Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul: Prof Carlos Formoso; Prof Luciana Miron; Prof Betina Martau; Prof Tarcisio Saurin
  • Unicamp - State University of Campinas: Prof Ariovaldo Denis Granja; Prof Flavio Picchi; Prof Regina Ruschel
  • UFRJ - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro: Prof Monica Salgado; Prof Marcos Silvoso
  • IMED: Dr Elvira Lantelme
  • UFC - Federal University of Ceara: Prof Jose de Paula Barros Neto
  • UFBA - Federal University of Bahia: Dr Dayana Bastos Costa
  • USP - University of Sao Paulo: Prof Alex Abiko; Prof Silvio Melhado; USP/Sao Carlos: Prof Marcio Minto Fabricio
  • UFPR - Federal University of Parana: Prof Sergio Scheer; Prof Aguinaldo dos Santos
  • UEL - State University of Londrina, Parana: Prof Ercilia Hirotal; Dr Milena Kanashiro
  • UFMG - Federal University of Minas Gerais: Prof Paulo Roberto Pereira Andery
  • UFSCAR - Federal University of Sao Carlos, Sao Paulo: Prof Sheyla Mara Baptista Serra and Dr Marcio Fernandes
  • UFAL - Federal University of Alagoas: Dr Adriana Santos and Dr Odair Barbosa

The partnership will consolidate some of the existing individual efforts and develop the critical mass needed to address the global challenges involved in the research. In doing so, the Centre will engage with public and private sector institutions, as well as academic communities and the intention is that other global partners will be invited to join in.