Prof Richard Dawson
August 2013 to July 2017
Centre Manager: Dr Claire Walsh
iBUILD is one of two new Centres (together with ICIF) set up as part of the National Infrastructure Plan, published by the Government in 2011, with funding from the EPSRC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Centres’ role is to catalyse and inform the national debate about the future of the UK’s infrastructure.
AIM: To develop new approaches to infrastructure business models with the ultimate aim of replacing current public-private business models that in many cases provide poor value.
Continued delivery of our civil infrastructure, particularly given current financial constraints, will require innovative and integrated thinking across engineering, economic and social sciences. If the process of addressing these issues is to take place efficiently, whilst also minimising associated risks, it will need to be underpinned by an appropriate multi-disciplinary approach that brings together engineering, economic and social science expertise to understand infrastructure financing, valuation and interdependencies under a range of possible futures. The evidence that must form the basis for such a strategic approach does not yet exist. However, evidence alone will be insufficient, so we therefore propose to establish a Centre of excellence, iBUILD to deliver a multi-disciplinary analysis of innovative business models around infrastructure interdependencies.
While national scale plans, projects and procedures set the wider agenda, it is at the scale of neighbourhoods, towns and cities that infrastructure is most dense and interdependencies between infrastructures, economies and society are most profound. Balancing growth across regions and scales is crucial to the success of the national economy. Moreover, the localism agenda is encouraging local agents to develop new infrastructure related business but these are limited by the lack of robust new business models with which to do so at the local and urban scale. These new business models can only arise from a step change in the cost-benefit ratio for infrastructure delivery which we will achieve by:
- Reducing the costs of infrastructure delivery by improved understanding of interdependencies between physical, social and financial systems;
- Improving the way we value the wider benefits of our infrastructure by identifying and exploiting the social, environmental and economic opportunities; and,
- Reconciling local scale priorities with regional and national strategic needs – because no locality is disconnected from its surroundings.
The iBUILD centre will develop a new generation of value analysis tools, interdependency models and multi-scale implementation plans. These methods will be tested on integrative case studies that are co-created with an extensive stakeholder group, to provide demonstrations of new methods that will enable a revolution in the business of infrastructure delivery in the UK.