Our academic network for sustainable construction

As a leader in building solutions, we have a key role to play in transforming construction. Smart construction involves collaborating with an ecosystem of talent around the world to innovate to create a world that is greener, smarter and that works for all.

Because we know we cannot make this transformation alone, we engage with a distinguished academic network to help us achieve innovation excellence. Today, we work with more than 40 leading universities in fields ranging from materials science to civil engineering and sustainable construction.


Innovating for sustainable construction

We work through our network to drive innovation in low-carbon and resource-efficient buildings, and to improve the resilience and durability of concrete structures. This takes place at prestigious institutions including ETH Zurich (Switzerland), École des Ponts ParisTech (France), Southeast University (Nanjing, China), IIT Madras (Chennai, India), Cape Town University (South Africa), TU Braunschweig (Germany) and University of Cambridge (UK). The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction works with some of the world’s leading technical universities across all continents. The universities support symposiums, jury panels for awards, and mentor the next generation of architects and engineers to further innovate in sustainable design and green construction.


Partnering with universities for a greener future

Our global network of academic partners is the incubator for the next generation of construction. We need the brightest minds to help us think outside the box and lead the next frontier of building solutions. All these collaborations help expand the company’s offering of low-carbon products and solutions as part of its journey to net zero. In 2020, we had 14 PhDs under our mentorship to foster education in sustainable design and construction. Many of the PhD students from the network become employees of Holcim, helping to turn visionary innovations into a reality.


Join our academic network

Our academic network of partnerships is growing. We partner with 34 institutions in 13 countries on 4 continents. Are you a leading institution in sustainability and innovation, and want to join us? Chances are, we do too! Please reach out to us here: innovation-communications@holcim.com

ETH Zurich: Low carbon life cycle

We have endowed ETH Zurich with the Chair for Sustainable Construction of Prof. Guillaume Habert. His research focus is on building life cycle assessment and decarbonization strategies in the construction sector. We are closely collaborating with the ETH to incubate innovative & cutting edge construction solutions, e.g. with the Susteno 3R development for the Hilo project or KnitCandela in Mexico City.

École des Ponts: Next generation materials

Holcim, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and Fondation des Ponts founded a chair on Material Science for Sustainable Construction in 2006. Under the supervision of Prof. Matthieu Vandamme, this fruitful collaboration has given birth to 9 PhDs, more than 30 interns and 5 hires in our Innovation Center in Lyon, as well as a worldwide hackathon to make concrete 3D printing a reality.

MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium

Holcim is a founding member of the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium that was established in 2021. Its goal is to accelerate the innovation lifecycle by ensuring that technologies are invented, prototyped, and implemented faster than ever before, and to share insights on sustainability opportunities among industry sectors. The Consortium was initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and will play a critical role in achieving climate and sustainability impact in complex global systems.

Saïd Business School: Oxford Initiative on Rethinking Performance

Holcim joined the “Oxford Initiative on Rethinking Performance” (ORP) by the Oxford Saïd Business School.

The partnership with Oxford Said Business School, complements our partnership with the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium by supporting the operationalization of Holcim as a purpose-driven organization. The ORP targets applied research on long-term and holistic business performance.

The ORP is a collaboration platform including key corporate and investor members seeking to create practical solutions for business and investors that contribute to implementation and measurement of corporate purpose, operationalized through three key areas:

  • management,
  • accounting,
  • and reporting

We are convinced that operationalizing, measuring and disclosing company purpose will enable sustainable and long-term focussed business behavior to thrive for the benefit of the economy, investors, planet and society.

Holcim Foundation: Young talents from all over the world

Supported by Holcim, its Foundation for Sustainable Construction in collaboration with its 15 associated universities on all continents conducts multi-day Forums on topics such as Infrastructure Space or Re-materializing Construction, bringing practitioners as well as academics and promising students from 60 universities from around the world together. A book including tangible examples, case studies and workshop papers is dedicated to each Forum.