How is the civils industry nurturing innovation through engaging with start-ups and SMEs?

It is inarguable that the civil engineering industry is entering a time of profound change, with technology emerging to change not just how infrastructure is designed, built and maintained but to challenge precisely what infrastructure is designed, built and maintained. 

The real change agents in this are likely to be technology-led start-ups and SMEs. These are the companies that bring a laser-focus and agility to solving specific infrastructure challenges and can disrupt conventional thinking.

But these companies find working in the infrastructure world challenging. The structure, the reluctance to invest and the way industry views risk are often seen as blockers to these kind of firms.

The government, through its Industrial Strategy, is determined to put SMEs centre stage to make the UK the innovation test bed of the world. Yet is the infrastructure market, through its government-backed investment programme making the most of the small business innovation to solve national challenges?

Share your views with New Civil Engineer. We've teamed up with Costain to canvas practicing civil engineers involved in project delivery to gauge the extent to which their companies and the industry generally are supporting start-ups and SMEs in getting innovation and new technology to market.

Fill in the survey to be in with a chance of winning an iPad mini.

To what extent do you believe government is investing correctly, helping you and your company work with start-ups and SMEs with a view to tackling national challenges?

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* 1. To what extent do you believe government is investing correctly, helping you and your company work with start-ups and SMEs with a view to tackling national challenges?

To what extent does your company encourage you to work with SMEs and start-ups?

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* 2. To what extent does your company encourage you to work with SMEs and start-ups?

What do you find are the biggest blockers to you working with smaller businesses?

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* 3. What do you find are the biggest blockers to you working with smaller businesses?

How easy or difficult do current procurement practices make it for you and your firm to work with SMEs/start-ups?

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* 4. How easy or difficult do current procurement practices make it for you and your firm to work with SMEs/start-ups?

What single change to procurement practices would make it easier/more attractive for you and your firm to engage with SMEs/start-ups?

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* 5. What single change to procurement practices would make it easier/more attractive for you and your firm to engage with SMEs/start-ups?

Should government enforce investment in start-ups through an “innovation levy” in a similar way to the “Apprenticeship levy”?

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* 6. Should government enforce investment in start-ups through an “innovation levy” in a similar way to the “Apprenticeship levy”?

Would you like to read more about the work of SMEs/start-ups in New Civil Engineer?

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* 7. Would you like to read more about the work of SMEs/start-ups in New Civil Engineer?

Who in the industry should be providing leadership in this area?

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* 8. Who in the industry should be providing leadership in this area?

How else can New Civil Engineer help promote the work of SMEs?

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* 9. How else can New Civil Engineer help promote the work of SMEs?

Do you work for 

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* 10. Do you work for 

Is your firm

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* 11. Is your firm

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