KnoWood is a project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, and the University of Westminster is one of five higher education institutions that implement it.
About the project
Project N°: 600903-EPP-1-2018-1-DK-EPPKA2-KA
KnoWood project aims to fulfil the future demands in higher education including entrepreneurial approaches to teaching and learning, innovation, sustainability, transnational, trans-disciplinary understanding in sustainable mid-rise and tall wooden buildings, which will increase sustainable growing forestry, employment in the wooden construction industry, a large reduction of greenhouse gasses and will create new innovative sustainable knowledge and courses in academia.
The project will promote cooperation and innovation among European and Canadian HEIs, researchers, business partners, associations, networks and broader society to foster design and construction of mid-rise and tall wooden buildings.
Objectives of the project
- To strategically research at which level sustainable design, construction and management of sustainable mid-rise and tall wooden buildings is being planned and implemented in the partners’ countries.
- To gather practical experience and knowledge on wooden buildings from business enterprises, associations and networks and to disseminate the information at KnoWood platform.
- To educate key target groups (students, teachers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs) in the field of the sustainability and the emerging global problems in construction.
- To develop and implement the new strategic trans-disciplinary modules/elective elements that meet the needs of the HEIs and market representatives and fulfil the future challenges of sustainable design and construction of mid-rise and tall wooden buildings.
- To improve competencies of students and teachers in problem-solving and teamwork, innovative thinking, motivation, awareness of cross-professional project input and project management by using business-oriented project-based learning approach.
- To ensure open awareness of the project results to local, national, EU level and transnational target groups.
The project will directly contribute to achievement of the objectives of the Knowledge Alliances action. The project aims to upgrade the existing study programmes with new modules and introduces new, innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. It stimulates entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial skills of higher education teaching staff and company staff as modules will be jointly developed by academic staff and practitioners; large scale cooperation among HEIs and business sector in terms of knowledge sharing and joint activities will be ensured.
Networking among EU and Canadian academia, business and society as well as development of the KnoWood platform will facilitate the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge. The transnational character of the project will also support development of transnational and intercultural competences of the participants.
Innovative aspects of the project
- Innovative teaching/learning approaches: trans-disciplinary, project-based learning, learning by doing, problem-solving and critical thinking, use of business-related experiences and real cases in education.
- Innovative know-how inside the companies carried out and tested in real-life conditions.
- Unique network for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the field of sustainable wooden construction.
Institutions and companies involved
The project is implemented by five higher education institutions and six companies from four EU countries and Canada:
- VIA University College (Denmark)
- University of Westminster (United Kingdom)
- Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania)
- Universitat Politechnica de Catalunya (Spain)
- Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Canada)
- House Habitat (Spain)
- Danish Technological Institute (Denmark)
- Study and Consulting Center (Lithuania)
- BM TRADA (United Kingdom)
- State enterprise Center of Registers (Lithuania)
- Idea Statika (Lithuania)
The University of Westminster's KnoWood team has worked hard to deliver its contribution to the KnoWood project interim report, which was submitted to the project coordinator on 14 May 2020. We are now awaiting feedback.
The team is made up of a front line of Dr Hocine Bougdah (Senior Research Fellow), Tabatha Mills (Senior Lecturer and Course Leader, A.T) and Simona Krasauskiene (Research Project Assistant) from the School of Architecture and Cities and supported by Samir Pandya (Assistant Head of School) and other staff in the finance office. The team is responsible for the delivery of Work Package 3 (the development of five learning modules) and contribution to Work Package 1 (Preparation), Work Package 2 (Management), Work Package 4 (Quality), Work package 5 (Evaluation) and Work Package 6 (Dissemination).
The feedback on the interim report is likely to set the priorities for the University's KnoWood team for the coming months in terms of project deliverables in particular, those relating to Work Package 5 (Evaluation) and Work package 6 (Dissemination).
Know your Wood
As part of the KnoWood project deliverables, The University of Westminster, UK as a leader of Work Package 3, and The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada, as a co-leader have led the development of a timber related learning package that consists of four undergraduate and one postgraduate modules that will eventually be made available as online learning modules. The other partners involved in the development of the package include VIA University College, Denmark, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, JSC “Idea Statika”, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and Teknologisk Insitut, Denmark.
The five modules are as follows:
- International Wooden Construction Management (M.Sc/M.A)
- Sustainable Mid-Rise Buildings Designed and Constructed in Wood
- Modern Building Methods in Wood
- Practical Placement
- Sustainable Wooden Building Technology for Vocational Training of Craftsmen
These modules make use of project-based learning and learning through making as learning and teaching strategies, where the learners take an active part in the learning process.
The international workshop for the training of craftsmen and undergraduate students, which was due to take place at the University of Westminster in April 2020, will be a testbed for some of the learning intended for the undergraduate and craftsperson modules developed. A new date for the workshop is yet to be determined.