The International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) is a three-year project involving a consortium of researchers from six UK universities – UCL, Southampton, Bristol, Sussex, Cranfield and Brighton. It is led by UCL’s Faculty of Engineering and funded by the EPSRC and the ESRC. The ICIF will examine the development, implementation and operation of the UK’s infrastructure systems to meet the needs of the twenty-first century.
Historically, our infrastructure systems – water, energy, transport, waste and, more recently, ICT – have been developed and managed in a fragmented sectoral way which leads to a number of inefficiencies and disjointed approaches to governance and policy and tends to stifle innovation. Based on a multi-disciplinary systems-thinking approach, the ICIF will bring together the large number of different stakeholders involved in renewing the UK’s ageing infrastructure, including end users, supply chains, owners, operators, financiers, regulators and the government.
The research focuses on the many interdependencies which make our current systems vulnerable to service disruptions and major systems failures as witnessed, for example, with extreme weather conditions. The ICIF will examine these issues on an international basis, drawing on case studies of how infrastructure is developed and operated elsewhere with the aim of developing innovative business models which can address these challenges.