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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainable procurement of civil engineering works by the MOD

Chris Hicks

Sustainable procurement of civil engineering works by the MOD

It has been argued that Government should take a lead role in the promotion of sustainable development and act as an exemplar of good practice. This research explores how a major government department, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), are applying sustainable development principles in the procurement of infrastructure works across its estate. The research concludes that there exists an encouraging level of commitment to the sustainability agenda within the MOD. A number of powerful and practical procurement tools for the promotion of more sustainable infrastructure solutions support this commitment. However, the research has found that the need for governmental departments to demonstrate value for money based on a neo-classical economic approach is significantly constraining the mainstream adoption of more sustainable design solutions. The research concludes that until these traditional financial accounting paradigms are changed, so that social and environmental externalities are better captured and assessed, then sustainable infrastructure solutions will continue to be discounted on the basis of affordability in favour of cheaper but less sustainable alternatives.

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.