NEWS / ACE News / "The next logical and tangible step"

ACE News

03 MAR 2020


All your questions answered about the Consultancy Sector Futures Institute

You may have seen the recent news around the Consultancy Sector Futures Institute, but might still be unsure of what exactly the project entails. Explore the who, what, where and how of the Institute and the next stage of the Futures of Consultancy campaign in our frequently asked questions below. 


Before you go on, please absorb the press release which covers the announcement and read our industry letter to Construction Minister Nadhim Zahawi. You can see how it was covered by City AM, Business Live, New Civil Engineer, Environment Analyst and Infrastructure Intelligence.


What exactly is being proposed? 
ACE is proposing the establishment of the Consultancy Sector Futures Institute (“the Institute”).

A joint venture between ACE, the industry and academia the Institute will perform a similar function to the Aerospace Technology Institute or Manufacturing Catapult in their sectors and turn innovation into business-ready opportunities. 

It will ensure that our sector provides design solutions to some of society’s biggest issues - whether complex  social deprivation, regional inequality, poor societal productivity or delivering a Net Zero reality.

How does this relate to the Future of Consultancy?
The findings of the Future of Consultancy research will feed into the Institute’s programme. In many respects it will be the logical and tangible step of the Future of Consultancy campaign, turning research into business reality for all of our members - whether a large global entity or a specialist SME.

How will it work? 
Developing the future skills and sustainable consultancy business models that will drive the industry forward. In addition, it will harness the power of emerging technology and open data to facilitate industry-wide collaboration for a more productive construction sector and society.  

Through a series of demonstrator projects, the Institute will take conceptual research and demonstrate their positive application for business and society.

The first two demonstrator projects will look at cities as a system and a major transport project. It’s hoped that this will help to prove the concept to clients and demonstrate tangible benefits for society.

What’s all this about a letter? 
A letter co-signed by 25 industry leaders and three academic partners has been sent to the Construction Minister asking for Government backing for the Institute.

The proposal is for the Institute’s funding to be split three ways, with BEIS and Innovate UK covering two thirds of the project spend. 

Why is Government funding required? 
Government support for the project will help drive it forward and deliver benefits for industry sooner. Furthermore, we hope Government will recognise the positive impact the programme will have on society as it develops and formulates very real answers to systemic problems, and want to help shape its activity as an active participant.

How much will this cost? 
We have estimated the cost of the programme to be in the region of £45m a year for five years. This makes a total of £225m. This figure is based on the cost of establishing similar projects in other sectors.

As mentioned elsewhere, we are proposing that the cost be met by BEIS, Innovate UK and the industry.

Who are the partners? 
The letter has been signed by 25 industry leaders - the CEOs and equivalents of major consultancies. In addition, members of the Construction Leadership Council have also signed the letters as individuals and representatives of three academic institutions.

Of these three institutions, the University of Salford and Loughborough University are the current two academic partners of the Institute. We may well welcome additional partners as the project develops.

All of these stakeholders will be brought together in. Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will manage the Institute.

What happens now? 
We will continue to engage with Minsters and civil servants right up to and beyond the Budget in March and make the case for the project. We hope that our ask for a face-to-face meeting between industry and the Minister will be met and that we can make the case for the Institute in person. 

How can I get involved?
If you're a client looking to work on demonstrator projects, an academic institution or a consultancy business, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Read up on the Future of Consultancy campaign or email us today to find out more.