Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PhD Success for Veronika Schröpfer

Congratulations to Veronika Schröpfer who has successfully completed and defended her PhD thesis and has the t-shirt to prove it. The Department held a celebration (photos by Andressa Minogue)...

Veronika was awarded a three-year PhD studentship by the EPSRC and Oxford Brookes University in October 2009. Veronika's research examined knowledge transfer in project teams, delivering office buildings to sustainable building certificate standards (BREEAM). The focus was to find out how the different project participants share the knowledge on how to build sustainably with each other, and accordingly determine ways of enhancement. In particular, she looked at the social network between the project participants and how this affects their knowledge exchange, as one of the main barriers preventing the built environment shifting towards a green industry standard is the diffusion of knowledge on how to build sustainably.

I caught up with Veronika to ask her a few questions about her PhD, her time at Oxford Brookes and what she is doing now...

1. What is your background and why did you decide to do a PhD?
Before joining Oxford Brookes, I graduated from the University of Applied Sciences in Oldenburg (Germany) with a MEng in Real Estate Economics and Facilities Management (2007), and the University of Applied Sciences in Heidelberg with a Diplom in Architecture (2004). I had work experience in several architecture offices in Germany, Spain and the US and then worked in Corporate Real Estate Management of Bosch Security Systems in Munich, before becoming a Consultant on industrial assets for Jones Lang LaSalle in Frankfurt.

2. Why did you choose to do your PhD at Brookes?
I decided to do my PhD at Oxford Brookes as they offered a scholarship in my exact area of research interest.

3. What is your research about? And how will it make a difference in 'the real world'?
My research is looking at how to transfer the knowledge on building sustainably between all participants in a sustainable office construction project.  By all, I mean also the builders. I used social network analyses and  compared projects in Germany with similar projects in the UK. It will make a difference in the real world in lots of ways: firstly, I developed a framework that can be used to improve the transfer of knowledge in project environments; secondly, I have disseminated the results to the research participants and also presented the results at two conferences and finally I will now use my results in my new job - to improve the transfer of knowledge on sustainable construction amongst European architects (all 560,000 of them!)

4. Looking back over your PhD and your time at Brookes, what have been the highlights? And the most challenging bits?
The biggest highlight is the community of PhD students within the area of the built environment - the four departments (Real Estate and Construction, Architecture and Planning) are really close and have an international flavour and are just a great bunch of people. The support that the university offers to international students is also really good (language support and events). The most challenging time was after the third year when my scholarship ended but the PhD wasn't quite finished.

Says it all really...

5. What have you got planned for the next 5 years career-wise?
Well, I started to work as a Project Officer at Architects' Council of Europe (ACE-CAE) at the beginning of March and I moved to Brussels which is an amaaaazing city! I hope that I will stay in this job for some time. I am representing the European architects in EU funded research projects on sustainable construction, supporting the projects with my expertise and disseminating the results to our member organisations - so all quite exciting and interesting. 

Thanks Veronika, and all the best for the future from all of us in the Department of Real Estate and Construction.

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