Latest news from the Ove Arup Foundation

The Ove Arup Foundation: The Next 25 Years

Some 40 guests of the Ove Arup Foundation met on 30 September 2015 to take part in a strategic discussion about the the Foundation, its direction and focus for the next 25 years.

Foundation Chair Terry Hill described the discussion as “a great session … it gave us much to work on. We now have a challenging set of eight clear actions agreed by the Trustees directly as a result.”

The discussion has been collated into a report, which can be accessed below:

Ove Arup Foundation The Next 25 Years (PDF, 155KB)

RNIB gains Foundation support for Load2Learn project

Load2LearnThe Ove Arup Foundation is providing support for an RNIB initiative aimed at improving the accessibility of teaching materials.

Load2Learn is an innovative and free online resource that allows teaching staff to download key curriculum materials in a range of accessible formats and adapt them to suit the personal reading needs of individual learners.

This enables young people who can’t read standard print, including those with dyslexia, to read the same books as their classmates, giving them the same educational opportunities and an improved sense of belonging.

With the help of the Ove Arup Foundation, the RNIB will be able to add new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) materials, to both textbooks and images. This will fill gaps in their existing collection and allow them to respond to changes in the National Curriculum.

Cambridge IDBE collaboration on the way

The Ove Arup Foundation is in the process of finalising a collaboration agreement between The Arup Education Trust (AET) in South Africa and the University of Cambridge’s ‘Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment’ programme (IDBE).

This agreement will see the top students on the AET programme attend a residential week with post-graduate students from around the world, in which they will explore some of the issues facing our industry.

In a reciprocal arrangement, an academic from Cambridge’s IDBE programme will attend a student camp in South Africa, where they will run a workshop for all the students in the AET programme. They will also pay a visit to the AET’s secondary school programme.

The AET was established in 2011 as a means to assist previously disadvantaged students in South Africa to access built-environment education and opportunities.

The IDBE programme is an established and highly successful part-time Master’s degree for professionals working in the built environment, offered jointly by the Departments of Engineering and Architecture at the University of Cambridge. The Foundation has been a long-term partner of the programme and many of its staff have graduated from the programme since its launch 20 years ago.

For more information, contact Susan Snaddon (Johannesburg) and also see websites: and

Partnership sealed with mainland Chinese University


ChonqingThe Ove Arup Foundation has sealed a partnership with the School of Urban Construction and Environment Engineering at Chongqing University, with the signing on 3 November 2014 of an International Education Programme.

Andrew Chan, Trustee of TOAF and Arup Board of Trustees Chairman, joined the signing ceremony of the partnership for the ‘Sustainable built environments: design and management’ programme, and signed on behalf of the Ove Arup Foundation.

He emphasised during a speech that the Foundation supports the education of a new generation of students and researchers for the design of sustainable buildings and cities. The ceremony was also attended by Professor Bai Cheng-guang, Vice President of Chongqing University and many other scholars at the university and from overseas.

The course will contribute greatly to the sustainable development of Chongqing and the rest of of China, setting up a model for other universities. Michael Kwok, Frederick Wong, Penny Cheung and William Chan from Arup witnessed the signing ceremony.

There will be overseas professors from the University of Reading and the University of Cambridge who will contribute to the International Visiting Professor Series. Raymond Yau, Arup Fellow, is one of the core lecturers and will make a significant contribution to the series.

This marks the first occasion that the Foundation has collaborated with a university in mainland China, after many years of supporting teaching, research and projects in eminent universities and organisation in UK, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Ove Arup Foundation Lecture: Constraints beget innovation

Professor Luke Bisby
Professor Luke Bisby

The University of Queensland hosted the first Ove Arup Foundation lecture on 7 November 2014.

Professor Luke Bisby, the Arup/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair of Structures & Fire, University of Edinburgh presented ‘How Integrating Constraints begets Innovation in Design: The Special Case of Fire Safety Engineering’, and generated an enthusiastic response with many questions from a university and industry audience of over 200.

The Public Lecture followed a three-day workshop examining the roles of regulation, education, competence and public expectation in the perceived constraint on innovation in fire safety engineering and building design.

This work, which featured international academics led by Professor Jose Torero (University of Queensland) and featuring Arup’s Dr Andrew Maher (Melbourne), will lead to a White Paper on global policy development and regulatory reform for the construction industry, particularly as applied to fire safety engineering.

Foundation helps Festival of Nature to grow

BristiolFestivalOfNatureBristol’s Festival of Nature has gained a grant from the Ove Arup Foundation to aid its 10th-anniversary spring/summer event of 2014.

The wide-ranging festival is aiming to host a flagship event on Green Infrastructure (GI) at the festival, demonstrating to a non-specialist audience how to apply principles of good design and current thinking in GI to their own architecture projects and community discussions.

Organisers hope to build knowledge about the wider principles of GI in order to work towards a city-scale response to the problems of ecological stress.

The wider festival comprises activities across Bristol, from April to October, with a focal harbour-side event scheduled for 12-16 June.

Visit the festival’s website at for more details.

Bristol Ambitious City Young Ambassadors gain support

BristolAmbitiousCityLogo_486x220The Architecture Centre has been awarded £10,000 from the Ove Arup Foundation in order to support its Young Ambassadors project in the Bristol Ambitious City exhibition.

The exhibition comprises:

  • A presentation of some of the city’s most visionary ambitions, covering all levels from individuals to large organisations and institutions, organised by theme: Enterprise City, Empowered City, Connected City, Healthy City, Destination City;
  • An interactive city map where individuals, groups and organisations can identify and comment on opportunities for improvement and future development;
  • A space where individuals and groups will be invited to take residence to propose, illustrate and discuss their ideas with the public.

It runs until 28 July 2013 and is curated in collaboration with the Mayor of Bristol, Bristol City Council’s City Design Group and the University of the West of England.

MADE City Builder Academy secures Foundation support

MADE's City Builder Academies give students the chance to develop built environment skills
MADE’s City Builder Academies give students the chance to develop built-environment skills

West-Midlands-based charity MADE is all set to start up another year of its popular City Builder Academies, with renewed support from the Ove Arup Foundation.

The Birmingham organisation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of towns, cities and villages across the West Midlands, will begin with the first of three academies tomorrow, 3 July 2013.

The second and third will take place in the next academic year, and up to 75 students from across the region will have the opportunity to take part. Further details about the academies, as well as application forms, can be found on the MADE website.

Each academy involves an intensive three-day design process, with support from MADE and other professionals to develop the basic skills and competencies required for a career in the built environment.

At the end of the process participants will have:

  • developed an awareness of the different professions and disciplines in the built environment professions, such as architecture, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, structural and transport engineering;
  • gained basic technical skills and knowledge relevant to built environment design processes;
  • enhanced their creative and critical thinking skills;
  • built confidence through presentation and group work;
  • understood some of the historical processes and modern considerations that shape our built environment.

Foundation beneficiary takes up new Professorship

Professor Luke Bisby
Professor Luke Bisby

Luke Bisby has been made Arup Professor of Fire and Structures at Edinburgh University, after completing a five-year readership as Senior Research Fellow in Structures and Fire, co-funded by the Ove Arup Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Bisby is also acting director of the University’s BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering and deputy head of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment.

To mark the successful conclusion of the current support from the Foundation, we caught up with Professor Bisby to congratulate him and ask about his achievements over the last five years, and how he anticipates his research to develop in the future.

The extended interview can be found here.