The programme was funded by the British Council through a Going Global Partnerships Collaboration Grant. These grants were offered to facilitate development of teaching programmes that contribute to UK and Indian qualifications. Led by Dr Sukumar Natarajan, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Bath, and Dr Rajasekar Elangovan, IIT-Roorkee, together with colleagues from SPA Bhopal, MANIT Bhopal, SPA Delhi, IIT Madras, SPA Vijayawada and Anna University; CREST was developed to help usher in a transformational approach to the design of the built environment in India.

Activities undertaken as part of the project incorporated several elements, including a PhD paper writing workshop held in Bath and a hybrid course development workshop held in India. The overall project responds to the urgent need to train a generation of architects, engineers, and other built environment professionals in meeting the triple challenge of climate resilience, energy security and health in the built environment, through developing bespoke teaching units for use in training.

The Bath based event was held over the summer and enabled students from the partner institutions in India to visit Bath and take part in a workshop aimed at writing journal papers based on their PhD research. The workshop included project presentations from each student, assessment of paper abstracts, feedback sessions and a tour of the city. Following the students return to India, they have been supported remotely with developing the papers to a point where they are ready for submission.

The Indian workshop brought together teaching staff from the partner institutions, to finalise content, review course material and share good practice. The content created as part of this project will offer a new course to educate engineers to build sustainable buildings that address challenges we will face in the future.

This workshop, held at IIT, Roorkee, in August 2022 included talks on the following subjects:

  • Designing for climate change and extreme events
  • Low-carbon development
  • Thermal and visual comfort
  • Low-carbon cooling
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Modelling and simulation tools, including the new free ZEBRA tool.

Of the project, lead investigator, Dr Sukumar Natarajan said:

The CREST project has enabled a profound engagement with our academic colleagues in India, many of whom are new collaborators. We have been guided by gender empowerment measures such as giving control of 50% of the project budget to our female colleagues by allowing them to determine the award of travel bursaries for doctoral students in a fair and transparent process. This is reinforced by a pleasing 50:50 split between male and female recipients of the bursaries and in those attending our workshop at Roorkee.

Our newly developed self-paced learning course material will soon be available via the NPTEL+ platform in India. With this, we hope to help train and transform how young architects and engineers in India conceive of buildings and cities by making them climate resilient, energy secure and healthy, as they oversee the construction of much of India’s built environment over the next 30 years impacting the lives of millions of people. We are now actively engaging with industry to help guide an active transformation in building design through a simple to use design manual. Together, these diverse activities are aimed at delivering a step-change in the design of the built environment in India and we are grateful to the British Council for enabling these activities.