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Sustainability Leadership for the Built Environment (IDBE)

Part-time Master's and Postgraduate Certificate courses from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership


Sebastian spent a decade in practice where he worked on a variety of commercial, domestic and public buildings, before becoming a founder partner of Eclipse Research Consultants, a small independent Cambridge-based research consultancy undertaking commissions for a variety of mostly public sector built environment organisations. He is an Associate at Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd which, like Eclipse, is a university spin-off.

He joined the Department of Architecture in 1996 and won funding for a number of research grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to study design and decision making in the built environment. He went on to be seconded for two years as EPSRC's Sector Programme Manager for Construction (1999-2001), and was later appointed Consortium Manager for the EPSRC-funded £3m 4-year project Carbon Reduction in Buildings working with colleagues at University College London, University of Loughborough and the Universities of Sheffield, Reading and Manchester.

He was the IDBE Course Director from 2006 to 2017, prior to taking on his present role as Course Tutor.

Sebastian has published extensively in the areas of environmental management of buildings, low and zero carbon building design, interdisciplinary design and integration, leadership and effective teamwork, and the added value of good design. His books include Interdisciplinary Design in Practice (Thomas Telford, 2001), Designing Better Buildings (Spon Press, 2004), and The Value Handbook (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2006). He has also published a number of academic papers, good practice guides and industry publications many in support of UK government initiatives in architecture and the built environment. His publication Sustainable buildings need integrated teams, was launched in the House of Commons in March 2009.

He has been engaged internationally as an academic advisor, external examiner and research assessor for a number of universities, and has lectured extensively abroad. He is a regular examiner of PhD theses. He helped establish masters courses in urban design in five universities in Ukraine with EU funding (2012-2015) and in 2016 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Prydniprovska State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Dnipro, Ukraine. He was a Visiting Professor at Turin Polytechnic 2016-2017.

Other appointments include:

  • Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.
  • External Examiner, University of Leeds.
  • Former External Examiner, Strategic Management of Projects, The Bartlett Graduate School, University College London.
  • Former Academic Adviser, Faculty of Architecture Planning and Surveying, University of Technology MARA, Malaysia.
  • Former University Moderator, RIBA Part 3 Professional Practice, University of Cambridge.
  • Former Chair of the Research & Innovation Committee, RIBA (2005-2012).
  • Former Member of the UK Research Assessment Exercise panel for Built Environment (1996 and 2001).

Research Interests

  • The benefits of a well-designed urban environment on health and well-being
  • Environmental sustainability, energy, efficiency and low carbon buildings and cities
  • Innovations in the project process, such as BIM, off-site construction, and new forms of procurement
  • Teamwork and leadership skills including communication, collaboration, negotiation and co-location 
Sebastian Macmillan trained as an architect at the University of Liverpool before going on to undertake a doctorate in design research supported by the Science Research Council (now the EPSRC) at the Royal College of Art.
Dr  Sebastian  Macmillan

CISL is monitoring the Covid-19 situation and responding accordingly to UK Government and University advice. At present, we expect to deliver our Graduate programmes starting in 2021 as advertised. We are well equipped to deliver dynamic and engaging workshops remotely, should the situation demand. Find out more.

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Programme overview


Becky Stanley, Senior Project Manager