The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Associate Professor Kathy Michell has been appointed as a member of the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) new Research Advisory Committee – the only African academic selected to serve on the committee.
Associate Professor Michell is the deputy dean of undergraduate studies in the Department of Construction Economics and Management in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE).
“It is both an honour and a privilege to be part of a global team that will be defining IFMA’s future-orientated international research agenda.”
“It is both an honour and a privilege to be part of a global team that will be defining IFMA’s future-orientated international research agenda. The invitation is very special to me as it is a recognition of the global influence of my research in the urban and community-based facilities management, in leveraging socio-economic development within our urban precincts and cities,” Michell said.
The IFMA, with its headquarters in Texas in the United States, is the world’s largest and most widely recognised association for facility management professionals, supporting over 20 000 members in more than 100 countries.
The committee consists of a multidisciplinary panel of experts, who include academic and business-orientated researchers whose work focuses on human experience and engagement, human–machine interfaces, facility management, real estate and the sustainability of buildings and cities.
The group will work towards reshaping the built environment in an effort to improve individual well-being and the sustainability of buildings. And together, this panel will help to create IFMA’s future research agenda.
“We need a globally orientated and multidisciplinary team of advisors to help IFMA set a future-orientated research agenda.”
According to department head, Professor Manya Mooya, this appointment is a significant personal achievement for Michell and will help to enhance the Department of Construction Economics and Management’s profile in the international arena.
The pressure points
Michell said the built environment is key to the social, economic and environmental change that the world so desperately needs. “It is the very fabric of society. It is the space that we live in, work in and play in,” she said.
Jeffrey Saunders, the IFMA director of research, believes the facility management industry faces several infection points. These, he explained, have been brought on by the sudden shift to hybrid ways of working, ongoing sustainability challenges, rapidly digitising operations, and the adoption of circular approaches to building management.
“As a result, the industry needs to transform. We need a globally orientated and multidisciplinary team of advisors to help IFMA set a future-orientated research agenda, and we are truly excited to see what they will recommend,” Saunders said.
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