Colin Dowds a student on the Advanced Concrete Technology MSc

Colin Dowds

Why did you chose to study the Advanced Concrete Technology MSc?

When I started the Advanced Concrete Technology MSc (or ‘ACT’) I was involved with research and development within the RMX industry. I had a very strong engineering and business background both qualifications and experience was felt that I was lacking in technical knowledge. Ever since I can remember the ‘ACT’ has always been held up as THE technical qualification within the industry.

What has been the best aspect of studying this course and why?

The flexibility. The fact that this is a correspondence course meant that I could generally fit my studies in around what was going on in my work and personal life. The company that I was employed with restructured twice whilst I was studying and I moved companies as well. This, as well as managing a busy home life with 2 young children and then studying a tertiary qualification, would not have been possible without this flexibility.

What projects are you involved in outside of the course?

In my Research and Development role I was involved with the following areas of research; 3D Concrete printing, Graphene oxide and other nano-materials and highly conductive concrete. My current role as Senior Assessor is new and I am spending a large proportion of my time on training such as Health and Safety, Environmental and auditing etc. so am not involved in any other projects at the moment, although I still have occasional involvement with the Skanska team who are managing the 3DCP (3D Concrete Printing) project as part of an Innovate UK grant.

Tell us about your ideas for your research project.

The main ideas that I have for my project involve the commercialisation of various new technologies. These include; 3D Concrete Printing, the use of nano-materials in concrete and the benefits that can be achieved (specifically graphene oxide) and new secondary materials e.g. London Clay and whether this could prove a viable alternative to current materials. All I need to do now is decide which area to pursue and what specific aspect - easy!!

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Use every possible moment of spare time to do the course when it becomes available – don’t procrastinate! Even though there is great flexibility you still need to complete the work within a specified period of time and you do not know when work or family commitments will pull you away.