The academic leads of the workshop were Professor Brian Collins (UCL), Professor Yozo Fujino (Yokohama National University, CSIC international advisory group member) and Professor Kenichi Soga.
The UK and Japanese government-supported initiative provided a platform for specialists to share research and development in smart infrastructure in order to address common challenges concerning the UK’s and Japan’s ageing infrastructure.
Resilient and robust infrastructure is critical to the smooth running of a developed society. Many nations are now realising that extreme events are becoming more common and having greater impact. The cost of disruption to developed economies from infrastructure that is ill prepared for extreme events is already in the billions of pounds/yen and rising
The workshop, organised by the Science and Innovation Section of the British Embassy and funded by the Department for Business Innovation (BIS) through their Global Partnerships Fund (GPF), brought together high-level experts from government, academia and industry to consider social and economic problems arising from an ageing infrastructure and the latest political developments affecting the sector.
Professor Lord Mair’s and Professor Soga’s presentations showcased CSIC’s knowledge and expertise across infrastructure research, management and monitoring. Using Crossrail in London as an example, Professor Lord Mair provided insight into the benefits of data analysis and management for smart infrastructure and construction. Professor Soga presented on innovative uses of smart sensors for smart infrastructure and construction.
The workshop aimed to enable UK and Japanese stakeholders to discuss technological challenges and potential solutions to realising resilient and robust infrastructure and identify a route to achieving efficient and cost-effective infrastructure management. Various possibilities for international collaboration were discussed.
Professor Lord Mair said: “Sharing knowledge about modernising and safeguarding infrastructure using innovative techniques and technologies better equips both countries to grow economically and socially in the face of extreme events and large-scale uncertainties."
Professor Soga said: “The Innovation for Infrastructure UK-Japan Workshop brought together an international cohort of scholars and practitioners with a capability to understand problems in different cultures and geographies, which will have both commercial and cultural value.”
The Innovation for Infrastructure Workshop, which is the first of its kind, is timely. The UK government has pledged to boost spending on infrastructure by £12bn over the next five years, including funding of £18M awarded to the University of Cambridge from the UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) to support a new National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing at Cambridge that will build upon the expertise of CSIC. The Japanese Cabinet Office has a large industry-academia collaboration scheme to accelerate infrastructure management research.
A second UK-Japan workshop, to be hosted by the UK, will follow.