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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K012398/1
Title: i-BUILD: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery
Principal Investigator: Dawson, Professor RJ
Other Investigators:
Gouldson, Professor A Rogers, Professor CDF Bower, Professor D
Thorpe, Dr N Jefferson, Professor I Tight, Professor M
Garrod, Mr G Baker, Professor CJ Blythe, Professor P
Glendinning, Professor S Foxon, Professor TJ Brookes, Professor N
Coaffee, Professor J Kafouros, Professor M Spencer, Dr D
Quinn, Dr AD Pike, Professor A Tomaney, Professor J
Bryson, Professor J Purnell, Professor P Brown, Professor A
Wilkinson, Dr S Gibbon, Dr J Campbell, Professor DJ
Metje, Professor N Steinberger, Dr J K
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Arup (Ove Arup and Partners Ltd) (UK) Atkins Balfour Beatty Plc
Birmingham City Council BRE Trust (Building Res Excellence) Carillion
CBI CH2M HILL CH2M Hill (Halcrow)
Climate-KIC Environmental Sustainability KTN Institution of Civil Engineers
Leeds City Council Malvern Hills District Council National Grid
National Underground Assets Group Ltd NEL Fund Managers Network Rail
Newcastle City Council Newcastle Science Central North East Local Enterprise Partnership
Pipeline Industries Guild Price Waterhouse Coopers Tipping Point
UK Water Industry Research Ltd (UKWIR) University of Salford Worcestershire County Council
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2013 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 3,567,862
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complexity Science Environmental Planning
Human Geography (General) Management & Business Studies
Sociology Sustainable Energy Networks
Transport Ops & Management Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Energy
Transport Systems and Vehicles Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Jan 2013 EPSRC: Infrastructure Business Models Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Our national infrastructure - the systems of infrastructure networks (e.g. energy, water, transport, waste, ICT) that support services such as healthcare, education, emergency response and thereby ensure our social, economic and environmental wellbeing - faces a multitude of challenges. A growing population, modern economy and proliferation of new technologies have placed increased and new demands on infrastructure services and made infrastructure networks increasingly inter-connected. Meanwhile, investment has not kept up with the pace of change leaving many components at the end of their life. Moreover, global environmental change necessitates reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved resilience to extreme events, implying major reconfigurations of these infrastructure systems. Addressing these challenges is further complicated by fragmented, often reactive, regulation and governance arrangements. Existing business models are considered by the Treasury Select Committee to provide poor value but few proven alternative models exist for mobilising finance, particularly in the current economic climate.

Continued delivery of our civil infrastructure, particularly given current financial constraints, will require innovative and integrated thinking across engineering, economic and social sciences. If the process of addressing these issues is to take place efficiently, whilst also minimising associated risks, it will need to be underpinned by an appropriate multi-disciplinary approach that brings together engineering, economic and social science expertise to understand infrastructure financing, valuation and interdependencies under a range of possible futures. The evidence that must form the basis for such a strategic approach does not yet exist. However, evidence alone will be insufficient, so we therefore propose to establish a Centre of excellence, i-BUILD, that will bring together three UK universities with world-leading track records in engineering, economics and social sciences; a portfolio of pioneering inter-disciplinary research; and the research vision and capacity to deliver a multi-disciplinary analysis of innovative business models around infrastructure interdependencies.

While national scale plans, projects and procedures set the wider agenda, it is at the scale of neighbourhoods, towns and cities that infrastructure is most dense and interdependencies between infrastructures, economies and society are most profound - this is where our bid is focussed. Balancing growth across regions and scales is crucial to the success of the national economy. Moreover, the localism agenda is encouraging local agents to develop new infrastructure related business but these are limited by the lack of robust new business models with which to do so at the local and urban scale. These new business models can only arise from a step change in the cost-benefit ratio for infrastructure delivery which we will achieve by:

(i) reducing the costs of infrastructure delivery by understanding interdependencies and alternative finance models,

(ii) improving valuation of infrastructure benefits by identifying and exploiting the social, environmental and economic opportunities, and,

(iii) reconciling national and local priorities.

The i-BUILD centre will deliver these advances through development of a new generation of value analysis tools, interdependency models and multi-scale implementation plans. These methods will be tested on integrative case studies that are co-created with an extensive stakeholder group, to provide demonstrations of new methods that will enable a revolution in the business of infrastructure delivery in the UK. Funding for a Centre provides the opportunity to work flexibly with partners in industry, local and national government to address a research challenge of national and international importance, whilst becoming an international landmark programme recognised for novelty, research excellence and impact.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk