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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V042521/1
Title: Scalable Circular Supply Chain For the Built Environment
Principal Investigator: Wang, Professor Y
Other Investigators:
Rezgui, Professor Y Burnap, Professor P Perera, Dr C
Rana, Professor O Gosling, Professor J Li, Dr Q
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Arup Group Ltd Celsa Steel UK DXC Technology
Galia Digital Limited High Speed Two HS2 Limited Resilience Partners Ltd
Sero Group
Department: Cardiff Business School
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 05 October 2021 Ends: 04 October 2024 Value (£): 424,033
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Mar 2021 Digital Economy Sustainable Digital Society 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project will demonstrate how one of the largest industries in the UK can utilise a digital platform to harness the benefits of a sustainable circular supply chain, so as to reduce waste, increase safety, and promote greater fiscal responsibility. The Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) sector plays a crucial role in the UK economy by employing over 2 million people to deliver civil engineering projects that underpin our economic growth. One of the biggest contributors to GDP, the ACE sector represents commercial activity spanning individual contractors through to multi-national corporations collaborating through complex asset distribution networks that account for over £10 billion of trade.

This network of activity consumes millions of tonnes of materials and produces more waste than all other industries combined, partly due to an inability to maintain an industry wide knowledge of material usage. Reclamation accounts for a fraction of industry activity due to intensive manual costs and is only economically viable for high cost, often historically valuable, materials. A key challenge therefore is a need to not only reclaim, but to track all material/asset usage throughout their lifecycles. Our approach is to build a digital platform and assess the associated business models within which the built environment can provide the tracing of materials without evasive building inspections for recall and resume activity.

The main outcomes of the research will be:

1. A digital (software) platform that harnesses the potential of multi-layered blockchains, to balance local autonomy of transaction recording/management, whilst maintaining a consistent provenance trail of recorded activity within each stage of the AEC lifecycle.

2. The concept and implementation of a 'material & service passport' to show the circularity potential of materials/ components/ assets/ services and enable stakeholders (e.g. designers, main contractors, manufacturers and clients) to assess the likelihood for circularity.

3. A road map based on the co-developed (with industry) digital platform and circular supply chain models, to incentivise collective supply chain behaviours towards circular economy and environmental sustainability.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk