Newcastle University has been awarded funding to improve the resilience of the UK’s urban infrastructure while saving costs for the country.
The University has become a member of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Cities and Infrastructure (UKCRIC), which aims to tackle the problems of “fragmented and under-resourced” research by developing new technologies, processes and materials that can be used on the road, rail and water networks.
The UKCRIC is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), who have invested £125 million in it, to make a total investment of more than £216.6 million, and aims to be “world class”.
Professor Richard Dawson, Chair of Earth Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, said:
“Collectively these UKCRIC investments will create an internationally unique facility that will give us a detailed, holistic picture of the relationships between the infrastructure in our city and the pressures put on it by people and the environment. In the long-run, this will help us make more informed decisions about how best to manage our cities and their infrastructure for future generations.”
As part of UKCRIC, most of Newcastle University’s research will be based at the new £58 million Urban Sciences Building at Science Central.
This building will open in Autumn 2017 and will contain the Newcastle Urban Observatory, the National Urban Water Infrastructure Laboratory and an Electric Vehicle Filling Station Research Facility.
More information about the building, including a virtual tour, is available on the Newcastle University website.
The University will receive more than £10 million from UKCRIC to develop the National Urban Water Infrastructure Laboratory, which is being developed in conjunction with two other UKCRIC Urban Water Innovation & Test Facilities in Cranfield and Sheffield.
The Laboratory will carry out research into urban flood management with the aim of developing new procedures that increase the long-term performance and serviceability of water infrastructure to control and reduce the impacts of extreme weather events.
One method for this that is being investigated by UKCRIC is integrating flood management technologies with other smart technologies to improve overall infrastructure.
Other research that will be in the National Urban Water Infrastructure Laboratory includes developing more cost-effective and environmentally-friendlier methods of water treatment and pilot testing smart water management systems.
In addition, the University is using UKCRIC funding to develop an Electric Vehicle Filling Station Research Facility, which will be located at Science Central and allows cars to be re-charged in just twenty minutes.
This is being developed in conjunction with the University’s £20m National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.
A core philosophy of the Collaboratorium is trying to achieve a sustainable balance by developing infrastructure that is effective and resilient whilst also being good value for money, as it is estimated that currently inadequate infrastructure costs the UK £2 million a day.
The UKCRIC consists of 14 universities and partner organisations and therefore is a centralised group that combines a range of academia, industry, Government, citizens and investors, allowing all their interests to be expressed