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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

Announcement of the New Civil Engineer TechFest Awards 2019 shortlists includes two CSIC projects as finalists for three awards.


• The CSIC Rockfall Early Warning System and CSIC Innovative Structural Health Monitoring of Ageing Railway Infrastructure have both been shortlisted for the Rail Visionary Award that recognises organisations developing pioneering ideas and designs to effect major changes in the global rail sector.

• The CSIC Rockfall Early Warning System and the CSIC Smart Monitoring for Condition Assessment of Ageing Infrastructure projects have been shortlisted for the Best Use of Technology: Driving Whole-Life Performance Award which recognises teams using technology on site or behind the scenes to boost the whole-life performance of the global civil engineering industry through better design and delivery.

• Both projects have been shortlisted for the Team of the Year which celebrates project teams driving development and adoption of innovation and technology in the civil engineering industry.   

Jennifer Schooling OBE, Director of CSIC, said: “It’s great news to be shortlisted for the NCE TechFest Awards. Both of these projects demonstrate the shared benefits of collaborating with industry partners to identify and understand key issues and challenges in order to design, develop and deliver effective and repeatable solutions.”

A collaborative project between CSIC and industry partners Geocisa UK, Dragados and Transport for London, monitoring heritage buildings with fibre optic sensors during the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade, won the NCE TechFest 2018 Award for Research Impact: Application in the Industry.

Already attracting industry acclaim, the CSIC Rockfall Early Warning System won the Best Use of Technology award at the Rail Partnership Awards earlier this month (June). This CSIC project features two fibre optic sensing systems designed for the Hooley Cutting, near south London, which carries the main railway line from London to Brighton through the North Downs. The 30m-deep cutting slopes are susceptible to landslides and need measures to prevent rockfall reaching the tracks, which has caused train derailments and line closures in the past. Network Rail commissioned CSIC to devise a solution to the problem. South East Region Managing Contractor Bam Nuttall and ground engineering company Bam Ritchies joined the project team. Both organisations have extensive experience of trackside installation and management.

The University of Cambridge, Innovative Structural Health Monitoring of Ageing Railway Infrastructure and Smart Monitoring for Condition Assessment of Ageing Infrastructure (a collaboration between CSIC, AECOM, Network Rail and the Alan Turing Institute (ATI)) showcases two bespoke monitoring systems designed for a masonry arch bridge and viaduct, both in Yorkshire. As well as enabling fundamental research into the behaviour of these heritage structures, the detailed monitoring data is also being used to research novel, statistical-based approaches to asset management and structural assessment, through collaboration between CSIC and ATI. Furthermore, at one of these structures, a skewed masonry arch bridge, Network Rail wanted to explore available monitoring technologies to determine systems with the potential to be used on other assets.

The NCE TechFest Awards 2019 are part of NCE TechFest, held in London on 26 September when the awards will be presented at a gala dinner.