The Department of Construction Economics and Management at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has received the International Real Estate Society’s (IRES) 2021 Corporate Leadership Award. The award recognises outstanding leadership at international level in support of real estate research and education. It also acknowledges the department’s support of the African Real Estate Society (AfRES).
The IRES is a federation of regional real estate societies that encourage global cooperation on research and education. The organisation encourages communication, collaboration and coordination in regard to real estate research and education globally, and assists with establishing real estate education and research programmes.
Associate Professor François Viruly, the director of the Urban Real Estate Research Unit in the Department of Construction Economics and Management, based in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, and the executive director of AfRES (an IRES sister organisation), said he is thrilled by the news. He said the award demonstrates the department’s strong commitment to engaged scholarship and to the African built environment academic community.
“This award reflects the considerable time and effort that colleagues in the department have dedicated to enhancing UCT’s position globally.”
“This award reflects the considerable time and effort that colleagues in the department have dedicated to enhancing UCT’s position globally, and illustrates the important role the university plays in furthering and supporting research across the continent,” said Professor Viruly.
Building blocks for success
He said colleagues in the department have worked hard over the years, constantly engaging with academics across the continent and drawing on their expertise. This practice ensures that what the department teaches students, and its research, is relevant and reflects a local, African context. It is because of this work ethic that the department has attained this recognition, and it deserves all the credit, he said.
According to Viruly, the department places excellence at the top of its list. Academics regularly interrogate students’ expertise to determine whether they would be able to effectively respond to the realities in an emerging market such as South Africa.
He said the department offers students an opportunity to deal with a broad number of disciplines and helps them adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the built environment. Viruly added that when graduates conclude their academic programmes, they are expected to have a solid understanding of the technical and socio-economic forces that influence property markets.
And by adopting this approach, the department equips students and graduates with a broad set of skills not normally found in other programmes at other institutions across the globe.
“We believe that to be a good leader in this field in South Africa, one needs a broad set of skills.”
“Our interaction and constant engagement with institutions across the continent ensure that we develop the required skills that our graduates need. We believe that to be a good leader in this field in South Africa, one needs a broad set of skills that consists of social, economic, environmental and ethical dimensions,” he said.
“We are thrilled that this hard work has now been recognised internationally.”
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