New Research Advisory Committee to help reshape the built environment through future-oriented research agenda

5 Nov 2021 - 14:30

A/Professor Kathy Michell from the Department of Construction Economics & Management at UCT is the only academic from Africa selected as a member of the International Facility Management Association's (IFMA) new Research Advisory Committee. This international panel of multidisciplinary subject matter experts will reshape the built environment to improve people's well-being and sustainability of buildings. The panel consists of academic and business-oriented researchers focused on human experience and engagement, human-machine interfaces, facility management, real estate, sustainability and more. Together, this panel will help create IFMA's future research agenda.

“It is both an honour and a privilege to be a part of a global team that will be defining IFMA’s future-oriented international research agenda. The team consists of academic and business-oriented researchers focused on human experience and engagement, human-machine interfaces, facility management, real estate and the sustainability of buildings and cities,” Michell said. “The invitation is very special to me as it is a recognition of the global influence of my research in urban and community-based facilities management in leveraging socio-economic development within urban precincts and cities.”

"The facility management (FM) industry faces several inflection points induced by the sudden shift toward hybrid ways of working, ongoing sustainability challenges, rapidly digitising operations and the adoption of circular approaches to building management. As a result, the industry needs to transform," stated Jeffrey Saunders, IFMA Director of Research. "We need a globally-oriented and multidisciplinary team of advisors to help IFMA set a future-oriented research agenda, and we are truly excited to see what they will recommend."

"Thought leadership is - and always has been - paramount for IFMA," said IFMA President and CEO Don Gilpin. "With this new globally diverse panel, IFMA will increase the number of resources provided to the FM community. We're excited to see how the Research Advisory Committee will help IFMA evolve and innovate as we make the FM industry and world a better place."

IFMA will conduct novel research surrounding the ongoing FM transformations and examine global trends, innovations, and more shaping the future of FM.

Michell said that the built environment is key to the social, economic and environmental change we need as it is the very fabric of society – it is the space that we live in, work in and play in. In this context, the facility management industry is currently facing several pressure points in terms of ongoing sustainability challenges, rapidly digitizing operations, the adoption of the circular economy and the sudden shifts in building and urban precinct management as a result of the global pandemic.

Professor Manya Mooya, head of the Department of Construction, Economics and Management, said, "It is a significant personal achievement, as well as one that helps to enhance our profile on the international arena."

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