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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

An Innovation and Knowledge Centre funded by EPSRC and Innovate UK

Studying at Cambridge


What we do and why Overview

Image: CSIC Cities team image showing adaptive zoning model of journeys to work in Greater South East England

CSIC takes a whole-life approach to infrastructure - from design to construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning - focusing on ensuring that infrastructure assets provide best value throughout their life.

All of CSIC's activity ultimately aims to transform the future of infrastructure and construction through smart information - providing decision makers at all points in an asset's lifetime with the information they need to make well-informed, value-based decisions.

CSIC develops technologies and methodologies with the key aim of transforming the future of infrastructure through smart information.

CSIC bridges the gap between engineering research and commercial industry. We implement this through advancing research in smart infrastructure and creating impact in engineering and construction by collaborating with industry to commercialise our research and drive technology-led business growth.

CSIC meets the challenges faced by industry through collaboration with a wide range of significant Industry Partners.

CSIC is in a unique position to develop, trial and deliver new robust, resilient and adaptable technologies that offer real value to the construction and infrastructure industry.

By working with our Industry Partners and demonstrating our innovative technologies on live sites , CSIC is able to accelerate the process of reaching technology readiness stage. The aim is to deliver value to industry by:

  • improving margins
  • reducing costs
  • enhancing returns
  • extending productive life of assets

There are substantial UK and international markets for exploitation of these new technologies by the construction industry – particularly for contractors, specialist instrumentation companies and owners of infrastructure.

CSIC’s aims acknowledge the essential place infrastructure has in society.

The UK Government’s National Infrastructure Plan 2014 highlights the strong economic case for infrastructure investment:

  • it emphasises the need for successful delivery – projects delivered faster, better and more cost-effectively
  • it highlights as a key priority the necessity to develop best practice to inform industry how infrastructure projects should be managed and run
  • it stresses the need for improved asset management and whole-life principles – central to CSIC’s objectives

CSIC’s aims are fully aligned to the Government’s Construction 2025 report, published in 2013, highlighting the importance of building the UK’s competitive advantage by investing in smart construction and digital design.

CSIC is putting into practice a number of key actions recommended by ICE’s State of the Nation 2014 report which will improve and enhance performance, and ensure that our infrastructure is resilient when faced with the many challenges ahead – from climate change to population growth.

CSIC’s highly-skilled deployment team, which includes secondees from industry, test, develop and improve the latest sensor technologies on live construction sites and on existing infrastructure.

More than 80 field demonstrations have been implemented by CSIC, and training courses are run to immediately transfer the knowledge to industry.

There has been substantial impact of CSIC’s activities in terms of the wide variety of technologies (fibre optic strain measurement, UtterBerry ultra-low power wireless sensor motes, and vibration energy harvesting devices) recently deployed on real construction and infrastructure sites. These technologies have been applied to a considerable variety of structures, including Crossrail, National Grid, the Royal Mail Tunnel and CERN tunnels, masonry arches at London Bridge and railway bridges in Staffordshire.

These ground-breaking deployments have involved 41 Industry Partners, and resulted in 20 awards and shortlistings, and more than 600 publications, reports and citations. New approaches to futureproofing of assets have been demonstrated, as well as new methods of modelling and analysing the behaviour of cities. CSIC has also had considerable impact in terms of thought leadership, both in the UK and internationally, through keynote lectures, workshops and training courses.

"Combined, CSIC's novel technologies & methodologies are a measure of its effective commitment to improve the quality and efficiency of our nation’s infrastructure"

 Head of CSIC, Professor Robert Mair