A Time of Transition: 2020 and 2021

I would like to begin this message by expressing gratitude, to my research team for persevering during challenging times, and to our industry partners for supporting our research during the pandemic. Last year was unique, full of novel and unexpected challenges, and 2021 will be one of transition for the IRC in SCMD. I believe we will look back on 2020 and 2021 as two eventful years that also reflect the strength of our collaborative approach to construction innovation, research, and application.

Early 2020 resembled a normal work year. The IRC in SCMD was represented at the ASCE Construction Research Congress held March 8–10 in Tempe, Arizona. By this time, of course, the full world’s attention was on the COVID-19 pandemic, and we began the substantial task of adjusting and recalibrating our projects and workplaces. As so much of industry planning and communication worldwide moved to virtual spaces, the IRC in SCMD team became adept at using online platforms for regular research and management meetings. And while some conferences were postponed to 2021, the IRC in SCMD did participate in APARM 2020, which was held virtually August 20–23, by organizing and chairing a special session and presenting papers related to the Future Energy Systems project.

In 2021, the IRC in SCMD team will focus on completing some research projects and transitioning other projects and tools into the Construction Innovation Centre (CIC). (Please see the article What’s Next for the IRC in SCMD in this newsletter for more.) As we make this transition, we look forward with excitement to increasing outreach, networking, knowledge sharing, and other collaborations to make the Canadian and Albertan construction industry competitive on a global scale.

Again, I thank our research team, industry partners, and colleagues for all we have been able to accomplish with the IRC in SCMD despite the particular challenges that 2020 presented. This year will see many of our IRC in SCMD products completed and put into practice, and the CIC will further strengthen our industry and academic collaborations. Above all, we hope to be able to meet in person again soon.

– Dr. Aminah Robinson Fayek

IRC in SCMD team meeting, Zoom, November 2020

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling & Delivery