University of Oxford Biochemistry building

ARCC news for March 2014

ARCC network news & events

ARCC Network Assembly 2014

10-11 June 2014, Austin Court, Birmingham

This 2-day knowledge exchange event will explore policy and practice issues in the context of using research, showcase advances from EPSRC’s built environment and infrastructure research portfolio, and will provide networking opportunities to nurture new collaborations. The Assembly is aimed at stakeholders from policy and practice communities as well as academic researchers. It will appeal to those with an interest in developing and using research to inform decisions in the built environment and infrastructure sectors. The event is free to attend.

  • Register for ARCC Network Assembly

ARCC Network Science-Policy/Practice Dialogue: Infrastructure dependencies and interdependencies

4 April 2014, London

This is a joint initiative with the Environment Agency’s Infrastructure Operators’ Adaptation Forum, and is aimed at bringing together those within the policy, practice and research communities who are exploring interdependencies in the infrastructure sector. There are a number of infrastructure initiatives underway in the UK and internationally, and this first event will explore current activities and identify how we might use these to enhance our understanding. This meeting is by invitation only, but if you are interested in being involved please contact Roger Street.

The Big Pitch – transformational research in ground/structural engineering and water engineering

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is inviting applications for its Bright IDEAS Awards. ‘The Big Pitch’ is focused on ground, structural and water engineering projects that have the potential to transform a broad area of research, but which may include a high degree of risk, and thus will find it difficult to obtain funding. Applications for up to £250k and for a maximum of 2 years are invited. The closing date for pre-pitch applications is 15 April 2014.

Early Career Researchers knowledge exchange skills development, Workshop 1: effective communication

The ARCC network’s  first early career researcher event took place last week. It brought together 18 researchers from 10 academic institutions, all of whom are working on EPSRC-funded built environment and infrastructure projects. The focus was on developing skills to share research stories and research outputs with a variety of audiences. Some outputs from the event are already online. With positive feedback from the participants, we are already planning future activities. A second event – a lunchtime webinar – will be held on Tuesday 13 May 2014 and will feature a presentation from Jonathan Breckon, Manager of the Alliance for Useful Evidence. This event is initially open to those who attended the event in Oxford, but we will open it up more widely if spaces are available.

Project news & events

Infrastructure Business models, valuation and innovation for local delivery (iBUILD) 2nd stakeholder day

2 April 2014, Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne

Participants will hear about recent research including work on City Deals and infrastructure financing, and new business models for urban heat networks. There will be presentations from Chris Murray (Core Cities Adaptation Group) and Chris Zevenbergen (UNESCO-IHE) and three interactive sessions: scoping and defining an infrastructure business model, a green infrastructure case study to inform discussion on decision-making and infrastructure business models; and scaling up/transferring locally-specific business models.

BUILD newsletter

iBUILD – which is developing new infrastructure business models – has published its first quarterly newsletter, featuring thoughts on recent storms, the Dawlish railway line and the experience of the development  of US cities.

Re-engineering the city (Retrofit 2050) policy and practice conference

The Retrofit 2050 project recently held its concluding conference to share key findings with policy and practice stakeholders. The event provided some high-level messages identifying the main challenges in moving towards urban sustainability, and shared some useful briefing notes and summary documents. The project works with three future urban scenarios and has explored their application, using Cardiff and Manchester as examples.

Briefing notes and other information from this event will be added to their website shortly.

National Grid and ITRC get closer

The Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium and National Grid are working together to ensure that ITRC research is addressing National Grid’s need for spatial modelling of customer demand projections.  Thanks to a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) this work should help National Grid to develop a better understanding of demand, enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness and providing greater clarity around investment decisions.

Other news and events

International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure (ISNGI)

9 September – 2 October 2014, Vienna, Austria : Call for abstracts

This is the second in a series of international symposia on next generation infrastructure. The objective is to develop a co-ordinated global infrastructure research programme looking at long-term infrastructure and land use planning. The 2014 Grand Challenge is “Imagine resilient infrastructure systems that can meet the needs of twice today’s population with half today’s resources”, and is concerned with all types of infrastructure and the web of interdependencies that collectively make up the physical, economic and social systems of cities and regions. Extended abstracts are due by 30 April 2014.

UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 – call for evidence

Work on the next UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) has begun in earnest, with the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) issuing a call for evidence. The ASC will use this evidence to develop a report on the risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change, which in turn will form the basis of the new CCRA, which is due by 2017. This will include sections looking at the risks and opportunities to both ‘infrastructure’ and ‘people and the built environment’. The deadline for submissions of evidence to the ASC is 30 April 2014.

Retrofitting London – guidance for social housing projects

The London Climate Change Partnership has produced two factsheets on the importance of integrating adaptation design features into housing retrofit projects. One factsheet sets out the financial case for incorporating adaptation, while the other factsheet proposes guidance and solutions.

Greater New Orleans urban water plan

Last autumn an urban water plan for Greater New Orleans was launched. It was prepared in response to the city’s experience of flooding and its increasing flood risk due to climate change and aims to address these challenges and make better use water assets. The plan is made up of three reports looking at vision (an overview), urban design and implementation.More information is available.

Getting policy-makers to use research evidence

The Alliance for Useful Evidence has provided an interesting summary of a recent study investigating the use of research by policymakers. It presents a significant challenge for scientists. Policy-makers  look beyond formal academic sources for their evidence, and respond to information that is timely and readily available: ‘chance’ is a significant factor. As well as all this, good relationships between researchers and policy-makers are key.