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Prof Robert Hairstans

Biography Professor Robert Hairstans is head of the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) within Edinburgh Napier University's Institute for Sustainable Construction, where he leads on research, innovation and knowledge exchange activities designed to deliver construction technologies for tomorrow's communities within a circular economy. His specialist expertise is in the fields of timber engineering and technology with a focus on adding value to the timber supply chain with an emphasis on engineered timber products and offsite (modular) construction.

A major contributor to the 2015 Queens Anniversary Prize for Innovation in Timber Construction and Wood Science Dr Hairstans has published extensively (over 40 peer reviewed published works in journals, books and conference proceedings) including the authorship of three books, one of which has been endorsed by the Royal Institute for British Architects for professional development (the 1st and only publication to receive this commendation). He is recognised as an expert in the field serving on national and international committees as well acting as a reviewer for international journals and grant awarding bodies including EPSRC.

The outputs generated and recognition received is as a result of having a Principle Investigator (PI) track record of over £1M of research (£880k) and commercial projects (£250k) in addition to the provision of Co-Investigator support to a further £0.6M since being employed by Edinburgh Napier University as a lecturer in 2005. Prior to his lecturing role Dr Hairstans was a national award winning Knowledge Transfer Partnership associate employed by ENU working at Oregon Timber Frame in the Scottish Borders.

Professor Hairstans is a Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Fellow having been selected by the Scottish Government in 2014 to transform the delivery of Sustainable Housing in Scotland and he is also a Co-Chair of the International Modular and Offsite Construction Summit in collaboration with the University of Alberta (Canada).

Professor Hairstans is also academic lead of Offsite Solutions Scotland a company formed by 10 industry partners in 2016 with a combined manufacturing output of £170million employing more than 1,000. OSS was founded following a successful UKCES project Offsite HUB(Scotland) funded by UKCES and led by Dr Robert Hairstans, culminating in a Cooperative Development Scotland Collaboration Prize.

In addition to international conferences Dr Hairstans has delivered Continual Professional Development on behalf of the professional institutions and chaired sessions at high profile industry and academic events as well as being invited to international universities ranked globally in the top 10.

Most recently Professor Hairstans has established the Built Environment Exchange ( in collaboration with international university partners in USA, Canada and Europe. BeX is a platform approach to accelerating change in construction culture developing dynamic talent and delivering experiential learning opportunities. Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) have engaged with beX via a collaborative learning week “Sustainable Communities Pre-manufactured from Wood”. BeX was awarded Outstanding Employer Engagement in Universities at the Herald Higher Education Awards 2018.
Research Interests Timber Engineering and Wood Technology
Offsite and Modular Construction
Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy
Teaching and Learning Timber Engineering
Offsite and Pre-manufacture
Entrepreneurship and Leadership