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Universities awarded £138 million for UK infrastructure research

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Press release issued: 30 March 2015

The University of Bristol is one of 13 university partners that have been awarded funding of £138 million for UK infrastructure research. The UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) investment was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget on 18 March 2015.

UKCRIC will apply globally important research to ensure that the UK’s infrastructure is resilient and responsive to environmental and economic impacts.

Bristol's Earthquake Engineering and Simulation Laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering will form part of UKCRIC, providing enhanced world-leading experimental capabilities, including unique techniques to improve the performance and reduce the costs of foundations of buildings, bridges, ports and nuclear facilities.

In addition, through the University’s Bristol Is Open joint venture with Bristol City Council, the Faculty will contribute its innovative City Operating System (CityOS) to UKCRIC. The CityOS will allow detailed observations of how real city infrastructure systems, including the people who use them, actually work. The system will also enable rapid evaluation of new city technologies in actual city conditions.

Colin Taylor, Professor of Earthquake Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering, who is leading Bristol’s participation in UKCRIC, said: “The University is delighted to be playing a central role within the UKCRIC initiative as it seeks to drive down the costs of the UK’s £466 billion pipeline of infrastructure renewal projects.

“This will be achieved by improving our understanding of how infrastructure actually works at full-scale in the laboratory and in the field.  Better understanding will reduce the need for conservatism and overdesign, which can increase costs. It will also make it easier to reduce the risks that currently hold back innovation and prevent us from exploiting new technologies that will deliver greater value from existing and future infrastructure.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, added: “Bristol is recognised as a world leader in the experimental and city observation techniques that will underpin these improvements. Crucially, these techniques also cover our understanding of how people, businesses, government and other societal organisations interact with and are served by infrastructure.

“UKCRIC’s innovative concept will enable Bristol’s researchers to collaborate with academic colleagues, industry, local government and citizens in Bristol and across the UK and globally in producing new, world-leading, wealth creating approaches to provide the infrastructure we need in the future.”

Further information

The UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) is a £138 million capital investment that will be centred around the Olympic Park in Stratford and will include 13 university partners from across the UK. A formal business case will be developed over the next few months.

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