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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K000314/1
Title: Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction - Collaborative Programme Tranche 1
Principal Investigator: Mair, Professor L
Other Investigators:
Middleton, Professor C Allwood, Professor JM Scholtes, Professor S
Crowcroft, Professor J Heffernan, Dr P B Cippola, Professor R
Soga, Professor K McFarlane, Professor D Mascolo, Professor C
Seshia, Professor A Jin, Dr Y Parlikad, Professor A
Echenique, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Aeroflex International Ltd GE Aviation ITM Monitoring
Laing O'Rourke Ltd NXP Semiconductors Omnisense Limited
Scottish Water Senceive Ltd Thames Water Plc
The Woodhouse Partnership Ltd Transport Research Laboratory Limited
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 28 September 2012 Ends: 27 September 2016 Value (£): 2,311,585
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Feb 2012 Innovation and Knowledge Centres (CP1) Cambridge Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Infrastructure represents a large part of the UK's asset base, and its efficient management and maintenance are vital to the economy and society. The application of emerging technologies to advanced health monitoring of existing critical infrastructure assets can help to better quantify and define the extent of ageing and the consequent remaining design life of infrastructure, thereby reducing the risk of failure. Emerging technologies also have the potential to transform the industry through a whole-life approach to achieving sustainability in construction and infrastructure in an integrated way - design and commissioning, the construction process, exploitation and use, and eventual de-commissioning. Crucial elements of these emerging technologies include the application of the latest sensor technologies, data management tools and manufacturing processes to the construction industry, both during infrastructure construction and throughout its life. There is a substantial market for exploitation of these technologies by the construction industry, particularly contractors, specialist instrumentation companies and owners of infrastructure.

In this proposal, we seek to build on the creation of the Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction which brings together leading research groups in the University of Cambridge Departments of Engineering and Architecture, Computer Laboratory and Judge Business School. The Collaborative Programme will see these groups working with industrialists and other critical stakeholders on challenging research projects which deliver practical solutions to the problems that industry faces and which promote the dissemination and adoption of valuable emerging technologies.

The development and commercialisation of emerging technologies can provide radical changes in the construction and management of infrastructure, leading to considerably enhanced efficiencies, economies and adaptability. The objective is to create 'Smart Infrastructure' with the following attributes: (a) minimal disturbance and maximum efficiency during construction, (b) minimal maintenance for new infrastructure and optimum management of existing infrastructure, (c) minimal failures even during extreme events (fire, natural hazards, climate change), and (d) minimal waste materials at the end of the life cycle. The Centre focuses on the innovative use of emerging technologies in sensor and data management (e.g. fibre optics, MEMS, computer vision, power harvesting, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and Wireless Sensor Networks). These are coupled with emerging best practice in the form of the latest manufacturing and supply chain management approaches applied to construction and infrastructure (e.g. smart building components for life-cycle adaptive design, innovative manufacturing processes, integrated supply chain management, and smart management processes from building to city scales). It aims to develop completely new markets and to achieve breakthroughs in performance.

Considerable business opportunities will be created for construction companies, and for other industries such as IT, electronics and materials. The Centre is able to respond directly and systematically to the input received from industry partners on what is required to address critical issues. Through the close involvement of industry in technical development as well as in demonstrations in real construction projects, the commercialisation activities of emerging technologies can be progressed to a point where they can be licensed to industry.

The outputs of the Centre can provide the construction industry, infrastructure owners and operators with the means to ensure that very challenging new performance targets can be met. Furthermore breakthroughs will make the industry more efficient and hence more profitable. They can also give UK companies a competitive advantage in the increasingly global construction market.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk