HS2 has signed an agreement with leading infrastructure research centres at UK universities that will enable it to access world-leading research capabilities, knowledge and facilities.
The agreement with the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) will enable the project to draw upon key centres of British academic excellence to help drive new insight and technologies across the broad range of disciplines involved in building affordable, low-carbon, modern infrastructure.
To be co-ordinated by the Universities of Loughborough and Southampton, the agreement will enable HS2 to commission research from across the whole of UKCRIC for Britain’s new high-speed rail network. It will also provide a channel for the 15 academic institutions involved to put forward research findings that could be employed on the project.
Andrew Pestana, innovation strategy manager at HS2, said: “HS2 is a major opportunity for Britain’s university and business sectors to collaborate at the leading edge of innovation to meet the challenge of delivering Britain’s new high speed rail network.
“The project’s size and 20-year delivery programme provide the perfect environment in which to develop solutions for High Speed 2 and the wider rail industry – both of which are crucial in helping Britain’s transport network to decarbonise.”
The first task to be tackled under the new agreement is to identify key areas for collaboration on low carbon concrete, such as alternative reinforcement methods, reducing embedded carbon in production, and re-use of materials.
William Powrie, professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton and convenor of UKCRIC, commented: “This landmark agreement will enable HS2 to harness the power of UK universities in civil engineering innovation to meet the challenge of providing a robust, long-lasting railway at an affordable carbon and financial cost.
“In addition to bringing high TRL (technology readiness level) research to bear to address known and immediate challenges, engagement with HS2 will stimulate blue-skies thinking and catalyse new research that will have influence and impact for decades to come.
“Researchers in universities that are not full members of UKCRIC will be able to become involved, and the potential to make a real difference is huge.”
UKCRIK partner institutions include:
Imperial College London
University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
University College London
University of Edinburgh
University of Leeds
University of Manchester
University of Oxford
The University of Sheffield
University of Southampton