The Construction Engineering Masters (CEM) degree programme - PROSPECTUS 2022-2024

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Construction Engineering Masters Equipping leaders to transform the construction sector

2022–2024 PROSPECTUS

The CEM programme was launched in 2011 with industry partner Laing O’Rourke to fulfil a shared vision of transforming the construction industry through innovation, education and technology.

Contents Why participate?


About the programme 6 Key learning objectives


Academic and industry involvement




Dates and fees


How to apply?


Photo: Queens’ College by Sir Cam @camdiary

Welcome The Construction Engineering Masters (CEM) degree programme is uniquely aligned to help tackle the widely recognised challenges facing the construction sector. Participants in the programme are equipped with the skills, tools, knowledge and inspiration to lead and deliver positive transformation of the sector now and into the future. The programme explores the key challenges of sector productivity, the value of investment in focussed research and innovation, the potential of advances in technology, especially digital, and ways to incentivise collaboration and address supply chain fragmentation. The CEM overlays these challenges with the urgent need to decarbonise buildings and infrastructure in the face of the climate crisis. I am delighted to have taken on the role of Course Director at a pivotal time for the industry. The CEM programme provides a unique opportunity to galvanise the efforts of talented students, sponsoring companies and some of the brightest academics to drive meaningful change for the better in the construction sector. Dr Gavin Davies Construction Engineering Masters Course Director


The CEM programme proved to be transformational for my understanding of the subject matter covered and how I thought about delivering change.” Dan Rennison Head of Data Insight, Costain Ltd

Why participate? The Construction Engineering Masters programme offers direct benefits to individual participants and sponsoring organisations. The part-time format of the course permits students to continue with their professional careers while studying. CEM cohorts average 25-35 students, with each cohort forming a closely bonded group of innovative, supportive and like-minded thinkers, with significant scope for peer-to-peer learning. The course offers substantial opportunities to engage with other cohorts to further build networks, knowledge and expertise.

Students will gain the new skills and insights needed to tackle some of the most pressing challenges for construction. They will be equipped to become industry leaders allowing them to make a tangible contribution to the positive transformation of the sector. The CEM course has supported accelerated career development for many former students.

For organisations that sponsor students, the programme offers two core benefits. First, sponsorship provides an opportunity to support, retain and demonstrate commitment to the organisation’s highest flyers and to deliver your future leaders. Secondly, by working with the students during and after the programme, their skills, expertise and studies can be focussed towards delivering wider benefit for the organisation. Research is usually aligned to meet the combined interests of the student and their sponsoring organisation. This degree is accredited by the JBM (the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation and the Institute of Highway Engineers) as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree.


About the programme The CEM course is an established two-year, part-time, multidisciplinary programme that focuses on leadership, critical thinking, construction innovation and technology to address sector and societal drivers. The course is hosted by the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge in partnership with the Cambridge Judge Business School. The programme is delivered by academics from the University of Cambridge and other institutions alongside leading industry thinkers and practitioners. The CEM includes seven evenly distributed residential weeks spent in Cambridge, four in the first year and three in the second. These dedicated residential weeks are delivered through a blend of on-site and virtual education and combine teaching and learning sessions, one-to-one supervisions with academic staff and peer to peer learning opportunities. Each residential week is focused on a specific theme, supported by an ongoing programme of communication, leadership and research skills development:

Fundamental thinking





The built environment

Design for value

Research, innovation and digital

Advances in

Explore the wider context of the built environment from both the UK and international perspectives. To include a strategic overview of the current state of the construction industry, the infrastructure in the UK and internationally, the economic and political framework within which the industry currently operates, and the management of risk and uncertainty.

Build an overview of how the construction industry equips itself to achieve value and, through exploring value in different contexts, how the industry attempts to address the clients’ needs in the public and private sectors, and society at large. To include an introduction to complexity theory and how it can be used to understand organisations and the value they deliver.

Acquire insights into examples of innovation emerging from current research. To include the fundamental principles of developing, implementing and managing effective innovation techniques, processes and procedures.

construction technology and materials Investigate analysis methods, modelling and the development and use of different materials. To include insight into the state-ofthe-art for common materials, special novel materials, key areas of advanced construction technologies and how materials and technologies (such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the use of big data) might contribute towards advances in construction practice.

Year 1 Ongoing programme to develop research and communication skills

Applied skills

Thought leadership




Advances in construction management

Finance, planning and procurement

The future of construction, including policy development

Consider concepts and methods used to manage construction projects and businesses. To include the challenges of management, the methods for planning operations and improving productivity, and key aspects of leadership.

Learn about different models of financing construction projects in the UK and globally. To include elements required to support project finance and procurement such as contractual agreements, sources of capital and financial structuring, and construction law.

Understand the links between construction engineering and policymaking. To include advancing students’ skills in advocacy on relevant policy issues and applying all the skills developed throughout the two-year programme.

Year 2 •7

This course is not only unique but vital for our industry. Just when you think you know how the industry works and what is best, this course gets you to question, explore, research and learn about innovative, stepchange solutions and opportunities. Through this course we will begin to transform the industry.” Kate Hall Director, Arup

Key learning objectives Knowledge


Understanding the state of the art and evaluating latest developments

Enhancing leadership, communication and analytical skills



Engaging with policy makers, industry experts and experienced professionals

Designing, building and operating a net zero carbon, resource efficient and resilient future

Digital transformation

Systems thinking

Understanding how data and digital technologies are changing the world of construction

Managing infrastructure as an interconnected system delivering services to society


Academic and industry involvement Every year over 100 leading government, industry and academic experts from the UK and abroad contribute to the CEM programme. Core team: Dr Gavin Davies Construction Engineering Masters Course Director

Professor Campbell Middleton Laing O’Rourke Professor of Construction Engineering

Professor Ioannis Brilakis Professor of Construction Engineering

Under recruitment Professor of Construction Engineering

The Reverend Max Bayliss Queens’ College - Graduate Tutor

Jan Wojtecki Centre Manager

Adam Cooley Construction Engineering Masters Programme Coordinator

CEM Fellows (experts supporting the CEM core academic team) Professor Alistair Gibb Loughborough University Professor Paul Goodrum University of Colorado Boulder Professor Peter Guthrie University of Cambridge Dr Paul Heffernan University of Cambridge Dr Benn Lawson Cambridge Judge Business School Dr Kristen MacAskill University of Cambridge Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly formerly London School of Economics Professor Phil Purnell University of Leeds Dr Sam Stanier University of Cambridge

A selection of past contributors Dame Kate Barker Commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission between 2017-2020 Professor Dame Carol Black Expert Adviser on Health and Work to NHS England Tim Chapman Director, Arup Professor Keith Clarke former CEO, Atkins Professor Peter Hansford Honorary Professor at UCL; former UK Chief Construction Adviser Professor Lord Robert Mair University of Cambridge Dr Darryl Murphy Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure, Aviva Investors Nick Raynsford Deputy Chairman of Crossrail; former Minister for Construction and Minister for Housing Dr Mark Raiss Engineering Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa, AECOM Brigadier Sara Sharkey Ministry of Defence Hannah Vickers Chief of staff to CEO, MACE Paul Westbury Executive Vice President - Development & Construction, Strategy & Operations at The Madison Square Garden Company


The programme was a hugely valuable experience and allowed me to meet peers with a strong passion for the industry. As a fulltime working mum, it was also refreshing to see how all my challenges were never viewed as a problem for this fantastic team of academics.” Maria Seco Engineering Maintenance Manager, Elizabeth Line TfL

Participants Students are drawn from diverse international backgrounds, but they share two vital characteristics. They are all high performing professionals who have either attained a leadership role or been identified as future leaders in their organisations. Additionally, CEM students share an ambition and determination to build a better construction industry now and for the future that delivers against global societal needs and challenges. The CEM welcomes applications from professionals from all organisations across the construction sector, including building and infrastructure clients, national and local government, consultants, contractors, specialist providers, legal and management firms, equipment manufacturers and suppliers to the industry. Previous participants have included CEOs, engineers, architects, lawyers, asset and commercial managers, technology providers and manufacturers.

Dates and fees Residential weeks for 2022 cohort entry 2022



September 11th - 16th

March 26th - 31st

March-April TBA

December 11th - 16th

July 2nd - 7th

September 15th - 20th

December 10th - 15th CEM students become full members of Queens’ College which provides accommodation and pastoral support for the residential weeks. This includes access to all the resources and facilities of the College: leisure facilities, library, IT. resources, dining and common rooms. Students are required to attend the residential weeks in person except in exceptional circumstances.

Programme fees The fees for the entire two-year CEM programme include: Costs


Combined University & College fees


Accommodation* and meals (based on an average of £250 per residential week)


Programme total*


* Please note accommodation rates are set independently by Queens’ College. Most of our students obtain full or partial funding from their employer. Where this is not possible, bursaries may be available for a proportion of the combined University and College fee. Please contact the Centre Manager for more information.


How to apply? Are you an experienced professional with the ambition to drive sustainable and meaningful transformation of the construction industry? Then the CEM degree programme could be ideal for you. To apply, you will need to have a first or upper second class UK honours degree or overseas equivalent in a relevant or related discipline. Applicants also need to demonstrate significant experience in the industry. If you have alternative qualifications and experience please contact the Centre Manager for advice. For more information about the course and details of how to apply please visit our website: Applications close on 30 April 2022.

Applications for the CEM programme are managed online by the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) at the University of Cambridge.

Apply now

It feels like I have been walking around with my eyes closed for years. The exposure to all this knowledge, experience and perspective has opened them wide. It’s transformational!” Rob Higginson, Commercial Leader, Laing O’Rourke


Photo: The Civil Engineering building by Max Fordham LLP

Find out more For further information about the programme please contact: Jan Wojtecki Centre Manager Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology Civil Engineering Building University of Cambridge 7a JJ Thomson Avenue Cambridge, CB3 0FA United Kingdom @CEMCambridge

The CEM programme was launched in 2011 with industry partner Laing O’Rourke to fulfil a shared vision of transforming the construction industry through innovation, education and technology.