Two new research Centres have been set up with a remit to explore innovative business models and approaches to exploit the opportunities in the National Infrastructure Plan. University College London will lead on the International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) and Newcastle University will be home to the new i-BUILD: Infrastructure Business models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery centre.
The £7m funding will be used over the next four years to bring academics and industry together to better understand the interdependencies involved in planning and delivering infrastructure. This includes developing and testing out new cost effective and sustainable models of delivery in conjunction with industry, moving away from traditional silo'd working to a more interconnected approach.
The Centres will also play a key role in informing national debate on infrastructure, alongside how it could contribute to creating new jobs; stimulating economic growth; delivering social and environmental value; and building a fairer society.
Professor Brian Collins, who is leading the ICIF research commented:
It is an exciting new development in infrastructure research involving many groups in academia, industry and government that will research and develop new ways of providing infrastructure (Transport, energy, water waste and ICT) in well-developed and developing countries.
The Centres are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The EPSRC is the UK’s main agency for, funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. ESRC is a non-departmental public body who fund research on economic and social issues.
The Centres collectively have the backing of major industry partners including Virgin, Balfour Beatty Plc, PWC, BRE Trust and Network Rail, they will be supported by the Centres to better understand and exploit infrastructure opportunities in the UK and international markets.