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Research ideas are always emerging across CII's standing committees, sector committees, and Communities for Business Advancement (CBAs). The list below is a compilation of these groups' top ideas. Some of these are just a one-sentence idea or research question while others are more detailed Research Topic Summaries (RTS), which is the way the Funded Studies Committee defines new research topics for funding. Ultimately, all ideas that are selected for funding should have a fully developed Research Topic Summary, which is used by CII in requests for proposals.

Committees and CBAs are encouraged to regularly revisit this page to:

  • Provide any new ideas. If you would like to submit a research topic, please use the following link: Submit a Research Topic
  • Review current ideas when prioritizing new ideas for funding.

The content of this page is organized in four sections:

If you are with a CII committee or CBA and need more information about topics, please contact Daniel Oliveira at daniel.oliveira@cii.utexas.edu

Research Programs

CII's overarching research is framed within research programs. Each research program drives a long-term goal that will improve CII members' businesses and bring innovation to the delivery of capital projects. Additional information regarding research programs can be found on CII's websiteThe current programs are:

ProgramFuture Topics/Ideas/Questions

AI Engine to Optimize Projects through AWP

How can companies in the capital projects industry leverage AI to optimize AWP implementation and achieve better business and project outcomes? 

What AWP decisions or process steps can take advantage of AI? 

What strategies can companies adopt to incorporate AI in their AWP processes? 

The Workforce of 2030

The Impact of Automation on the Engineering Workforce

New Approaches for Training, Assessing Performance, and Retention

Integrated and Collaborative Delivery for Better Business Results

Quantitative Validation and Deployment of Industrial Integrated Project Delivery

Improving Project Forecasts by Reducing Optimism Bias in Project Teams

Cultivating Change

Cultivating Change: What structures, strategies, and processes will allow capital projects organizations to cultivate change by realistically and systematically identifying the need for change, plan and react to change?

Breaking the “Cycle of One”: How can project organizations be structured so that knowledge is transferred from one project to other thus driving continuous change and improvement? How can organizations better perform knowledge transfer across projects?

Circular Economy


Technology Committee

As of July 2020, the Technology Committee in considering the follow research ideas:

  • P2020/1 Digital collection and reporting of Site Labor Hours
  • P2020/2 Application Guide for Blockchain Technology within the Construction Industry
  • P2018/1 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Driven, Data Cleansing & Migration Guide

You can find more information on the Technology Committee page and in the Technology Committee R&D Subcommittee page 

If you want more information about the Technology topics above, please contact Bryan Kendig at BKendig@dow.com

Sector Committees

Downstream and Chemicals sector (DCC)

PDRI MATRS for Small Projects (Oct 2019): This project aims to update the existing PDRI for Small Industrial projects to include the PDRI MATRS framework. CII's recommendation is that several sectors could pull resources to fund a project to update several PDRI versions in parallel. This would create efficiencies in the delivery of the new PDRIS versions.

These are several topics related to the "How to Double Productivity" project, which was sponsored by the DCC committee in 2017-18. These topics may also apply to other sectors and to overarching research. You can find a report with a detailed description of topics on the RT-DCC-01 Knowledge Base page. These are some of the topics included in the document:

  • Craft Competition (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • Developing the Next Generation of Field Supervisors (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • Productivity Cultures (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • Provide Information at the Right Time and in the Right Format (Full topic summary available - see link above)

Throughout 2019, the committee also explored a number of research ideas/questions, including:

  • An update for the CRA tool, which would add more clarity to the definitions of the different score levels of the tool. (CII recommendation: start collecting feedback from companies using the tools in order to better define the problem and launch a very short project. Alternatively, the DCC members could collect the definitions and work with the Deployment committee to implement changes to the tool).
  • Productivity related topic: the DCC sector decided to create a workgroup to create alignment on a standard definition of productivity before funding a new project.
  • What is the real impact of CII best practices? What brings the most value? (CII recommendation: DCC should review past work on the value fo best practices available in the Knowledge Base. The new CII Data Warehouse project may also connect to this idea and the DCC could work with the deployment committee to create and track metrics related to the value of best practices. However, is this a DCC specific topic, or is it relevant to all CII members?)
  • Evaluation of global practices (CII recommendation: needs more definition).

Facilities and Healthcare sector (FHC)TBD
Manufacturing and Life Sciences sector (MLS)TBD
Power, Utilities, and Infrastructure sector (PUI)

The Research Team RT-PUI-01 identified and evaluated the impact of regulations through the project life cycle. One product of this research project was a regulatory research roadmap (report available here - CII account required for download), which outlines the current state of knowledge and proposes a plan to develop research that will further explore underlying issues. The ultimate goal of the research roadmap is to develop knowledge and tools to help the industry more effectively address regulatory risks and opportunities. Some topics included in this document are:

  • Industry-level Strategies for Dealing with Regulatory Changes (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • Regulatory Readiness Index (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • A Cost-Benefit Analysis Methodology for the PUI-01 Future-Proofing Framework (Full topic summary available - see link above)
  • Regulatory Future-Proofing Maturity Model (Full topic summary available - see link above)

The Committee also explored a number of options for future projects in fall 2019. The top ideas, along with possible links to existing programs, or Committees/CBAs:

  • What are the driving factors limiting construction productivity? What can improve it? (CII recommendation: connect to DCC and their interest in productivity)
  • Contract Types: is there a useful standard? LDs/Bonuses (CII recommendation: connect to upcoming DCC project PDCS Update)
  • Data: How to access and get in places that need it? Barriers and how to overcome culture? Security? Overloaded? correlation process? best uses for predicted analytics? (CII recommendation: connect to RT-372 Model-centric Delivery and to the CII Data Warehouse led by the Deployment Committee)
  • Psychology of decision making and risk assessment: What are we conservative? Can we enable transformation? Can we do a better job of learning from other industries? (CII recommendation: connect with the Cultivating Change program)
  • Business KPIs (leading and lagging): how do we bring approval authorities and project executives together when budgets don't align?
  • Prototype versus standard design - replicating design (CII recommendation: connect with Modularization CBA and to the standardization research team sponsored by Upstream and Mining sector committee)
  • Focus: day to day construction site - workers
  • Facilitate and create a framework for disruption (e.g. develop facilitators) (CII recommendation: connect with Cultivating Change program)

Some other ideas proposed by the Committee are opportunities for collaboration with other Committees, such as Technology or Deployment.

  • Technology Committee
    • Radical Changes in Construction Technology - Dramatic Cost Reduction
    • Underground mapping/visualization technology (e.g. preventing utility strikes)
  • Deployment Committee
    • How to get members to apply CII Best Practices in their company (Owner/Service provider/Contractor)? How long does it take to implement?


Upstream, Midstream and Mining sector (UMM)PDRI for Upstream: This project aims to update the existing PDRI resources to develop appropriate tools for the Upstream sector.


Communities for Business Advancement

Information Management CBAHow AI and machine learning can reduce IM and other construction costs, increase productivity?
Project Controls CBAPC Maturity Matrix; AI for project scheduling
Quality Management CBA Creating consistent reporting around rework; continued work on RT-313 + intersection between quality and safety
Risk Management CBADevelopment of a Risk Maturity Model
Safety CBA

EHSS Training effectiveness

EHSS in PDRI in site selection, community relations, air, water, and environmental permits, technology selection

A “Living Library” to compile hazards in the field and develop an algorithm for data to identify potential events; increase EHSS training effectiveness & PDRI-EHSS steps; design in and out safety concerns

New Technology opportunities for advancements in construction and safety

Supply Chain Management CBA

Use AI to clean up connectivity throughout the materials supply chain (CII Recommendation: potential AI application for the AWP program)

SCM Blockchain applications (CII recommendation: see OS2 research related to blockchain)

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