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Innovation and the Built Environment Academy

Created to encourage interdisciplinary innovation in the built environment

As a non-profit organisation, set up in 2010, IBEA encourages innovation in the built environment through interdisciplinary interaction among UK-based academics, scientists, practitioners, policy makers and others.

IBEA stands for a number of ideas expressed by Spoehr et al. (2010). By creating opportunities for shared innovation through conferences and presentations, the academy champions key themes around the concept of innovation:

  • that it should be seen as a deliberate process to create new ways of doing things
  • that it means to generate, apply and expand knowledge
  • that it can bring benefits to individuals and the community as a whole, adding value and giving inherently positive actions

In encouraging a culture of innovation in the built environment the concept needs to be broadened to encompass creativity, collaboration and problem solving (Keighley-Jones, 2008). There also needs to be an understanding of how built environment clients and users meet their needs through new programmes, institutions and activities engaged with improving quality of life and meeting socioeconomic goals.

Inspiring creative interaction

The first IBEA conference entitled Innovation and integration: science, technology and policy in the built environment was held at London South Bank University (7-9 October 2011). The main themes of the conference emerged as a response to the multifaceted character, and growing complexities of the socioeconomic reality (e.g. climate change, sustainability, and poverty) that are faced by built environment professionals.

Through sharing and connecting ideas, the conference acknowledged that solutions to our current problems could only be found through collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches and by closer partnerships between HASS (humanities, arts and social sciences) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing ) researchers. Today, innovation is not limited to technological solutions alone and policy makers need to consider institutional as well as behavioural aspects of innovation.

IBEA 2011 helped us to define the future direction for IBEA as an interdisciplinary network for knowledge transfer, acting as a depository for sharing of experiences in the built environment. Contributions to the first conference.

Study opportunities

IBEA has been excited to launch its new Masters through Research. The research degree is funded by the London Bridge Partnership who have commissioned an LSBU student to pursue the potential and possible application of a series of railway arches near to our Southwark campus. The student will work on a methodology to identify the innovation, technology and economic opportunities the arches could deliver. It's anticipated that further Masters through Research will be possible.

Join us

IBEA has held a series of events at LSBU's School of The Built Environment and Architecture, where many distinguished speakers have provided seminars, workshops and meetings in pursuit of IBEA's aims. The academy is always keen to hear from people who would like to join or share ideas and online enrolment is available at For any enquiries email