Project led by WSP’s Smart Places team and puts university at forefront of higher education digital resilience.

  • Project led by WSP’s Smart Places team who were appointed in early 2020
  • WSP delivered a Smart Campus Strategy which embraces digital enterprise technology and physical campus systems
  • Continuation of recent higher education projects from across WSP, including the University of Bath and University of Birmingham

WSP, the engineering professional services consultancy, has delivered a Smart Campus Strategy for the University of Glasgow which will help transform the experience of 29,000 students and 8,000 staff.

Founded in 1451 and the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University appointed WSP Smart Places in early 2020 to deliver a strategy which embraces both digital enterprise technology and physical campus systems.

The Smart Campus project was launched as part of the World Changing Glasgow Transformation (WCGT) programme, designed to prepare the university for a future that is increasingly dynamic, digitally competitive and driving toward net zero carbon.

During the project, WSP deployed both Design Thinking methodologies and User Experience Design that would establish the case for change. The team brought completely new ways of working to the University board, delivering the work using an agile methodology based on co-creation and sprint delivery. 

WSP built an interactive project website to collaborate with stakeholders and communicate their progress, developed digital prototypes as proof of concept and hosted ‘show & tell’ workshops to validate the direction of travel. The strategic vision was articulated through graphical representations of the user experience so stakeholders could understand the physical and digital interactions of the Smart Campus.

The analysis and recommendations from the project pivoted in response to future forecasting uncertainty and developed a business case proposal that was supported by a technology investment modelling tool, allowing the University to align cost-benefit analysis with a manageable investment profile.

The University of Glasgow is committed to preserving targets for reducing their carbon footprint, making the digital strategy element a priority step for acting more intelligently as an estate operator and as a global teaching and research leader. 

Morven Clements, Smart Campus Project Director, University of Glasgow, said: “WSP enabled the University of Glasgow to make valuable and much-needed headway at pace by supporting this multi-faceted educational giant in developing its digital strategy and its approach to delivering a world-class user experience. 

“The team was agile in the true sense of the word - they delivered even in the wake of COVID-19 but more than that, the team brought a vibrant fresh approach to the University, one that resonated with the projects many stakeholders, an approach that has digital and strategical know-how at its core.”

John Gleeson, WSP’s Smart Places UK Team Lead, said: "The Smart Places team quickly recognised the uncertainty across the higher education sector earlier this year and worked closely with the project board and proposed a change of direction for the business case. 

“We engaged WSP’s Business Analytics team to develop a dynamic business case modelling tool that would enable the University to modify financial forecasts for each technology investment relative to the changing drivers around costs and benefits. 

“The vision the University has shaped puts people and planet first and the steps they are taking illustrate their assertiveness in responding to the climate emergency – steps which align with WSP’s commitment to deliver net zero. The approach we took for the project allowed us to take more strategic oversight so the University avoids the pitfall of point solution fixes. We look forward to supporting the University of Glasgow in its continual transformation roadmap.”

Chris Green, Chief Transformation Officer, WCGT, said: "WSP were able to reshape our direction for Smart Campus and translate the business case value on both human and commercial levels. The collaborative working relationship that came to the project reinforced our confidence in the role of a critical friend and the value available from strategic technology advisors. 

“The project board embraced the agile methodology WSP took, a hands-on approach relocating to a project 'war-room' on campus and engaging directly with our stakeholders throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Acting as a critical friend, the team brought the project board along the journey with regular show & tell stand-ups to present the direction of travel and capture the value proposition that was relevant to our institution. The appointment was an enormous success and we look forward to future opportunities with WSP."

Earlier this year, WSP announced it had had developed the engineering design for a renewable energy centre for the University of Birmingham, and released new footage of the University of Bath's Institute for Advanced Propulsion Systems, on which WSP are civil and structural engineers.



Dan Williams, UK PR Manager, WSP / 07341 681 673 


As one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consultancies, WSP brings clarity and vision to complex challenges. Our team of more than 7,000 technical specialists and strategic advisers across the UK is part of a nearly 50,000-strong global family of expertise. Together, we ensure innovative solutions solve complex problems for our clients and the communities we serve, meeting both the needs of today and addressing the challenges of the future.

As the largest environmental consultancy in the UK, WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency. Working collaboratively with industry organisations, WSP co-founded ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ which commits environmental services firms to science-based carbon targets and public reporting. In May 2020, we brought together the public and private sector for our Delivering Net Zero report, and WSP is on course to become a net zero business by 2025 – an achievement for which we were named Global Good Company of the Year in 2019.