Smart Contract Tokens in Building Information Modelling

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Integration between Building Information Modelling and Blockchain technologies with a focus on smart contracts, cryptoeconomics and incentive systems.

MRes | MPhil | PhD | MSc by Research
Start Date
Usually February and October - at individual School's discretion


Blockchain has emerged as a particular type of decentralised ledger that enables trustworthy transactions between a nodes on a network. In parallel Building information Modelling is a centralised database that contains all information about a building. In many cases BIM is used as a vehicle to simulate and improve building performance, predict construction problems or clashes, coordinate a team of professionals working on a BIM model.

Within the cycle of designing and optimising a model it is unclear in many cases where value was created in a series of performance optimisations, as this is not visualised nor is it recorded as a process. As part of the larger project the PhD thesis will examine the connection between BIM and blockchain technologies, focusing on the web3 aspects, smart contracts needed to make the integration of the technologies successful and fruitful, with a particular focus on tokenisation and incentives mechanisms. Additionally, a visualisation engine will need to be build, tested using industrial partners and validated as part of the PhD. The visualisation engine will track and visualise where value is created during a series of design and performance optimisation cycles.

The research methods employed in the PhD will be experimental software development and qualitative research for the testing and validation component. Students will develop code in the form of a series of smart contracts based on a framework provided, along with the interface for these contracts, and develop within their thesis a classification system and an evaluation framework on smart contract selection in BIM to Blockchain integration. Beyond work on the foundation and smart contract API, students will be working on collaborative aspects of the project where the design and performance optimisation of a BIM model is tracked, visualised and managed through a blockchain.

The objective for this is to be able to provide clear evidence of where value is created for a multidisciplinary building design team.

PhD students will be working with technologies such as Building Information Modelling, Industrial Foundation Classes, Smart contracts written on Solidity for the Ethereum Virtual Machine, Blockchains on Ethereum and potentially Hyperledger Besu, amongst others. Applicants will need to have a background either in computer science or computational design in architecture and be educated to at least postgraduate Masters level. 


Discuss this further with the potential supervisor for this research degree:

Research Themes

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About our Research Degrees

We welcome specific ideas from applicants for a potential research degree topic. The University offers a number of potential self-funded topics in each School which you could consider developing your research project around.

It is not unusual for a proposed research degree topic to evolve as you progress through the application stage and even your future studies. This ensures the best match of your academic/professional experience with that of your supervisory team.   

Occasionally, the University will also advertise available funded studentships, for very specific topics or subjects:

If you need any further support prior to applying, please email


Entry Requirements for Research Degrees

Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University.

Applicants holding other qualifications shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. 

Applicants will normally register for an MSc/PhD or MRes/PhD with transfer to PhD dependent on satisfactory progress. However, applicants who already possess a Master’s degree which includes a significant research component could be registered directly for a PhD, subject to a satisfactory research proposal, and clear evidence of research expertise. 

Some Research Degree Topics require employment experience, research experience and/or transcripts for international qualifications.

Contact to see if you are eligible.

English Language

Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 with 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.



For Academic Year 2022/2023

UK/EU Students

  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year

International Students

  • Full time - £15,130 per academic year
  • Part-time MPhil/PhD - £9,078 per academic year
  • Part-time MRes/MSc by research - £7,565 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.

Scholarships and Financial Awards 

Postgraduate research students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However you may qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

Funded Studentships

Occasionally, the University will also advertise avaliable funded studentships, for very specific topics or subjects:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter. For further information see: 


All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students.

Before you apply, find out more about the application process, deadlines, time frames, routes and durations:

Our Research degrees usually start in February and October each year. There are no formal deadlines for you to submit your application, though we recommend you submit it as early as possible in order to ensure we can help you join us at your preferred time. 

Completed application forms should be accompanied by:

  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 and 6.5 in all elements, or an approved equivalent. 
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.

Ready to start this Research Degree? Find out about our entry requirements, application dates and how to apply.

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