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Loughborough University part of £276m UK infrastructure and cities project

Loughborough University has been announced as a partner in a new £276 million research project aimed at ensuring the long-term functioning of the UK’s infrastructure and cities.

UKCRIC (the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities) brings together academic experts from 14 universities across the country.

The study has secured £138 million of Government funding, with 100% matched funding from other sources.  Outside national security and medicine it will be one of the largest collaborative research projects in the UK.

UKCRIC will work to provide a knowledge base to ensure the long-term functioning of the UK’s transport systems, energy systems, clean water supplies, waste management, flood defences and the development of SMART infrastructures.

Speaking about UKCRIC, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “From traffic congestion and floods to rising populations, our cities face big challenges that need innovative infrastructure solutions to keep services secure, low-cost, and effective. That’s why, as a One Nation Government, we are investing £138 million in this world-leading UK research network to develop new materials and engineering solutions that will deliver world-class infrastructure up and down the country.”

UKCRIC programmes will integrate research on infrastructure needs, utilisation and performance through experiments, analysis, living labs and modelling. This will provide a new combination of decision support tools to inform infrastructure operators, planners, financiers, regulators, cities, and Government on the optimisation of infrastructure capacity, performance and investment.

The coordinating node of UKCRIC is headed by Professor Brian Collins of UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy.

The UCL team will coordinate partnerships between top players across industry, academia and Government in an unprecedented bid to align knowledge producers and the needs of the UK.  Current national and international partners include Bristol City Council, Network Rail, Mott MacDonald, Buro Happold, Atkins, National Grid, DfT, EDF and Thames Water, with many more partners to follow.

Loughborough’s involvement with UKCRIC will be led by Professor Neil Dixon from the School of Civil and Building Engineering.  Speaking about the project he said: “We are delighted to be a part of this ground breaking partnership.  Loughborough expects to play a full role in the UKCRIC coordination activities, including interactions with Government and stakeholders and the dissemination of outputs to ensure maximum impact.

“UKCRIC represents a once in a generation opportunity to conduct research that will have a lasting impact on the nation’s infrastructure and the lives of everyone in the UK who depend on its efficient operation. We are in an excellent position to take full advantage of this exceptional investment in infrastructure research.”