Cambridge University has been awarded a £17 million grant to set up a new Innovation and Knowledge Centre to carry out research on Smart Infrastructure and Construction. The aim is to combine business knowledge with the most up-to-date research, to harness the full potential of emerging technologies in sensors, data management and manufacturing processes.
The five-year funding comes from the Engineering the Physical Science Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board, which are putting in £10million, with the remaining £7million coming from a number of industry organisations.
Robert Mair, principal investigator, said, “Much infrastructure is more than 100 years old. Infrastructure owners therefore have a strong interest in emerging technologies in sensors and data management, to quantify and define the extent of ageing and the consequent remaining design life of their infrastructure.”
By allowing for cradle-to-grave monitoring of buildings and other structures, combined with innovative manufacturing processes, these technologies will also lead to more efficient and economic construction of new infrastructure. The centre will be led by Mair and Kenichi Soga, a professor in the Civil Engineering Division of the Department of Engineering. Duncan McFarlane of the Department's Institute of Manufacturing (IfM) will also play a leading role, and Paul Heffernan of the IfM will be the full-time Director.
The Innovation and Knowledge Centre will bring together four research groups in the Cambridge Engineering Department and the Computer Laboratory, along with staff in the Judge Business School and the Department of Architecture.