David Grierson

Dr, Dr, Director of Internationalisation

  • United Kingdom

Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am Reader in Architecture and have been Deputy Head of the department since 2011. As the department's lead on international activity since 2014 I have worked with colleagues to establish collaborative agreement with institutions in East Asia (China and Inner Mongolia), South Asia (India and Hong Kong), Southeast Asia (Malaysia), the Middle East (Qatar and Kuwait), the USA (Arizona), and led the Faculty's first overseas engagement visit to the Middle East (to UAE, Qatar). I am pleased to say that the number of students from overseas now studying Architecture annually at Strathclyde has doubled in the past 5 years, and I believe our international academic profile has never been higher. In directing the ground breaking Faculty-wide postgraduate programme in Sustainable Engineering over the past fifteen years it has been a privilege for me to see well over a thousand students from our integrated engineering and architecture courses successfully graduate and advance their careers in industry and practice. On a more personal note I was honoured to be appointed as the first ever visiting professor at Arcosanti in Arizona, USA in 2013, subsequently launching a new MSc in Architecture and Ecology there, and then joining the Steering Committee of the Cosanti Foundation to guide the strategic development of Arcosanti in the years ahead. I currently lead the CRiDS research cluster at Strathclyde towards resilient and sustainable responses to social, environmental, and economic challenges associated with buildings and cities, in both developed and developing countries. My own research contributions, that aim to support design decision-making for a more balanced relationship between the built & natural environments and develop innovative teaching methods for sustainable development, have led to the supervision of around 40 postgraduate researchers over the past ten years and over 80 peer-reviewed publications in these areas.

Selected Publications:

Research Interests

David's research interests and experience extend from his doctoral work in Ecology, Sustainability and the City completed in 2000. His early work on ecological approaches to environmental sustainability has led to research activity in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe involving architecture, urbanism, sustainable development of the built environment, education for sustainable development, design for sustainability, and more recently, biophilia and space nature syntax methods. Awards and funding secured and managed on projects related to these topics totals over £1M since 2005.

Funded Projects:

  • The Nepal School Project (Feb 2018 - ). Principal Investigator with Strathclyde Engineering for Development.
  • Designing Out Construction Waste: guidance and pilot support (Oct 2017 - Jan 2018) Zero Waste Scotland. Principal Investigator with Ricardo Energy and Environment. 
  • BC-SDBE: Building Capacity: Sustainable Development of the Built Environment: British Council Newton Institutional Links Project (Oct 2016 - Oct 2018) British Council. Co-I.
  • KLABS: Creating Knowledge Labs for Sustainable and Resilient Environments (Oct 2015 - Oct 2018) European Commission Funding. Co-I.
  • Sustainable Design and the Impact of Small Scale Renewable Energy Intervention in Rural West Africa (Oct 2014 – Sep 2018) EPSRC Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Participatory Design and its Role in Sustainable Development: Rethinking Technologies for Healthcare and Water Infrastructure in the Developing World (Feb 2014 - Sep 2018) EPSRC Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Analysing and Testing the Architectural & Ecological Model Developed at Arcosanti, Arizona, USA (Oct 2013 - Sep 2017) EPSRC, Cosanti Foundation, Doctoral Funding. Principal Investigator.
  • Mainstreaming Innovation (Sep 2012 – Sep 2013) ERDF, SFC, and Scottish Government. Consortia Project with nine HEIs: Principal Investigator at Strathclyde.
  • Online CPD for Design Professionals (Jun 2012 – Jun 2013) SFC Knowledge Exchange Development Fund. Principal Investigator.
  • Evaluation of Intelligent Homes Prototype (Feb 2012 – Oct 2012) Scottish Enterprise. Principal Investigator.
  • Benefit Analysis of Edge Fall Prevention System (Feb 2011 – Feb 2012) ERDF, Scottish Government. Principal Investigator with Roof Profiles Ltd.
  • Promoting Inclusive Education through the Built Environment (Oct 2010 – Oct 2013) University of Strathclyde Doctoral Award. Principal Investigator.
  • CIC Start Online (Sept 2009 - Sept 2012) ERDF, SFC, and Scottish Government. Consortia Project with seven HEIs: Principal Investigator at Strathclyde.
  • Development of Online Modules in Entrepreneurship (Oct 2009 – Oct 2010) RCUK. Principal Investigator.
  • Project Gateway to the Professions: Urban Design Skills (Oct 2008 - 2009) Royal Town Planning Institute. Co-I.
  • Strathclyde Masters Programme in Sustainability (Jan 2009 – Jan 2010) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2008 – Oct 2009) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Gartcosh Steel Mill Regeneration Project (Nov, 2007) Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2007 – Oct 2008) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Visiting Professor in Engineering for Sustainable Development (Oct 2007 - Sep 2009) Royal Academy of Engineering. Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2006 – Oct 2007) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Succeeding for the Workplace (Developing Generic Skills Workshops for Postgraduates) (Oct 2005) RCUK (Roberts). Principal Investigator.
  • Sustainable Engineering EPSRC Studentships (Oct 2005 – Oct 2006) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.
  • Online CPD for the Construction Industry (Sep 2005 – Sep 2006) SHEFC CPD Development Fund. Co-I.
  • Sustainable Design: Community Heating, CHP, and SUDS at Kirkintilloch, Scotland (Jun 2005 – Jun 2006) Energy Savings Trust. Principal Investigator with Hillhead Housing Association.
  • Rationalising Postgraduate Provision across the Faculty of Engineering (Oct 2004 – Oct 2005) EPSRC. Principal Investigator.


Teaching Interests

International Teaching Profile:

David's academic activity spans over 30 years. In addition to the delivery of courses in the UK and mainland Europe (Italy, Belgium, Czech Republic) this includes invited teaching contributions on architecture and urban design in the United States, Guatemala, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China. His teaching emphasizes research-based transformative learning methods, utilising digital technologies, within interdisciplinary education for sustainable development. His aim is to help accommodate the evolving concept of sustainability using a variety of pedagogical techniques that promote participatory learning and thinking skills. Some examples of international teaching contributions are:

  • MSc in Architecture and Ecology. Arcosanti, Arizona, USA
  • Ecology, Biophilia, and Cities of Tomorrow. Taylor's University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Ecology, Biophila, and Sustainable Architecture. Victoria Shanghai Academy, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Sustainability and Ecology. Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar
  • Didactical Activities using Contemporary Learning Methodologies and Materials: MSc Sustainable Engineering, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy 
  • Re-Thinking Urban Life. Bahcesehir University and Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • How Do We Begin Again? University of San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Teaching Roles and Activities:

  • Head of the Graduate School of Engineering (2012 - 2018)
  • Programme Director of Faculty Postgraduate Programme in Sustainable Engineering (2004 - present). Over 1,000 postgraduate students from architecture and engineering have graduated from the programme since 2004
  • Lead Academic on Succceeding for the Workplace: postgraduate skills training (2005 - 2008)
  • Course Director MSc Architecture and Ecology (2015 - present)
  • PG Sustainability module leader (2004 - present)
  • Pg Arcology module leader (2015 - present)
  • PG Group Project Supervision 
  • Masters Thesis Supervision
  • UG Ecology, Sustainability and the Built Environment leader (2004 - present)
  • UG Dissertation Supervision 

Primary PhD Supervision topics have included:

  • Participatory Design and its role in Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Design and the Impact of Small Scale Renewable Energy Interventions in Rural West Africa
  • Sustainable Development Policies, the Problem of Housing Collapse in Iran
  • Walking to Occupational Activities in Basra City: developing and testing an ecological model to support evidence-based feedback in neighbourhood planning 
  • The Development of a Sustainable Building Management System for Iran
  • Towards Space-Nature-Syntax: the influence of spatial configuration and a view of Nature on social interaction, with Arcosanti, Arizona, USA, as case study
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • Optimizing Regenerative Design for Sustainability
  • The Sensibility of Material Culture and Structural Performance
  • The Relationship between the Physical Environment and Human Behaviour


Contribution to Reports on Education for Sustainable Development:

Expertise & Capabilities

Academic Engagement as:

  • Grant Reviewer for Research Councils (Austrian Science Fund, ESRC UK, NSFC China, ANR France, DFT Germany, NWO Netherlands)
  • Visiting Professor (USA and Qatar)
  • PhD Examiner (in the UK)
  • Postgraduate Course Examiner (University College London, Queens University Belfast, Sheffield Hallam University)
  • Quality Assurance Scrutineer (the Bartlett, UCL)
  • Senior Academic Staff Selector/Interviewer (USA, Spain, UK)
  • Co-Editor of Routledge Book Series (Architecture and Urbansim in the Global South)
  • Co-Editor of Journal Special Issues (International Journal of Architectural Research, Open House International)
  • Member of Journal Editorial Boards (ArchNet - IJAR, OHI, European Journal of Engineering Education, Design Principles and Practices, Altralineas Ediziona, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability)
  • Conference organiser (UK) and participator (Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Turkey, India, Spain, USA, and UK)
  • Workshop organiser (Guatemala, Italy, Belgium, USA and UK)
  • Invited guest lecturer (India, Qatar, Italy, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Hong Kong and UK)

Industry Engagement with:

  • The Scottish Executive (Building the Curriculum)
  • The Government of Catalonia (Serra Hunter Programme)
  • The Cosanti Foundation (Strategic Steering Committee)
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering (Visiting Professor in Sustainability)
  • Zero Waste Scotland (Designing Out Construction Waste)
  • Scottish Enterprise (Design Consultant)
  • Glasgow City Council (Urban Design Panel)
  • East Ayrshire Council (Design Consultant)
  • North Lanarkshire Council (Design Consultant)
  • Scottish Housing Associations (Design Consultant)

Public Engagement and Outreach with:

  • The British Council (India, Malaysia and Hong Kong)
  • The English Schools Foundation (Hong Kong)
  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (UK)
  • Yew Chung Educational Foundation (Hong Kong)
  • Singapore International School (Hong Kong)
  • King George V School (Hong Kong)
  • Victoria Shanghai Academy (Hong Kong)
  • Renaissance College (Hong Kong)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Sustainable Buildings and Cities

    David Grierson (Participant) & Fiona Bradley (Participant)

    Impact: Impact - for External PortalEconomic and commerce, Professional practice, training and standards, Environment and sustainability - natural world and built environment