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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

The CSIC Smart Infrastructure Blog series welcomes 2022 with a blog by Dr Sam Cocking, CSIC Research Associate and member of the UK National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) Young Professionals Panel (YPP).

Titled ‘Perspectives on the future of civil engineering and smart infrastructure: net zero, maximising societal benefits and diversity’, the blog calls for action following COP26 and for carbon to be elevated to the same status as cost, quality, and time in defining project success, and placing a far stronger emphasis on the re-use and re-purposing of existing built assets.

Dr Cocking writes: “In my role on the UK National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) Young Professionals Panel (YPP), which represents youth perspectives from across infrastructure and supports the policy work of the NIC, I have often seen just how important sustainability is for young people. At the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion, I hosted a panel discussion on behalf of the YPP, about the ‘climate-aware built environment professionals of the future.’ The consensus among the speakers was that sustainability and the climate are key priorities for young professionals, many of whom are leaving their degrees and training programmes with relevant skills but may need confidence and encouragement to apply them in the workplace.”

Bringing focus to the importance of whole-life learning and upskilling to ensure that future innovations developed through academic research—for instance, those associated with digitalisation and smart infrastructure—are adopted in practice as quickly as possible, the blog predicts that “the knowledge needed to realise successful projects will increasingly be spread across multidisciplinary teams rather than housed in individuals”. Dr Cocking writes: “As the skills and delivery approaches that we use to design, achieve, and maintain successful projects increase, and new roles are consequently created, this will also lead to an opportunity to improve diversity across our sectors.”

The blog includes a link to the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion panel discussion event hosted by Dr Cocking on behalf of the YPP that considered the ‘climate-aware built environment professionals of the future.’ 

Read Dr Sam Cocking’s blog ‘Perspectives in the future of civil engineering and smart infrastructure: net zero, maximising societal benefits and diversity’ here.


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