Joint Research Institute in Environmental, Infrastructure and Transportation Engineering
The Joint Research Institute is structured around four key themes:
The sustainability and continued development of modern human society depends on extracting essential materials from renewable resources and reducing reliance on nonrenewable resources. At the top of the at-risk resources are water and energy. Water providers are forced to tap sources of low quality: polluted ground and river water, eutrophic lakes and wastewater. After water, energy is the most precious resource and future sources must shift from fossil fuels to renewable ones. Both of these demands can be addressed directly by Environmental Biotechnology which manages microbial communities that provide service to society. The JRI is creating a world class research group at the forefront of innovation in theory and practice in this strategically important research area.
Water Resources, Water Management and Coastal Modelling
The two imperatives of the EU Water Framework Directive and the threat of coastal and fluvial flooding require improvements in water quality and in the engineering management of coastal, estuarine and river systems. These in turn require detailed understanding of the complex interrelationships between physical, biological and chemical processes. However, the fundamental behaviour of many of these interactions is not fully understood. In this JRI, research will be undertaken predominantly into the transport processes that move (flood) waters, chemical and biological species through river systems and coastal waters. Both physical and computational modelling techniques will be used along with remote sensing data to study the interactions between flows, channel design, topography and other aspects of the physical and biochemical environment.
Urban Regeneration and Environmental Liabilities
In line with the UN Millennium Goals to work with others to make a significant impact to help humanity achieve sustainability, the third research theme brings together industrial and academic expertise in ground engineering, environmental engineering and environmental forensics. Combining these areas of expertise under a unified research vision will help meet the goals of sustainable re-development and to fulfil the evolving global remit of Civil Engineering within the Engineering Profession in relation to the infrastructure of our society at large.
The JRI will deliver a flexible and generic ‘Vision’ whereby research directions can be modified and adapted during the long-term implementation of the national brown-field redevelopment scheme. The research undertaken will also highlight areas of enquiry that will need to be addressed in order to fully implement initiatives such as Sustainable Urban Drainiage Systems (SUDS), the EU Water Framework Directive, the EU Landfill Directive, the EU Environmental Liabilities Directive and other UK Sustainable Urban Environment research and to progress technological advances in remediation science and ground / civil engineering.
Research into sustainable transportation be focussed into three main modes of travel by air, land and sea through the following research groupings:
The Aerospace Research Group will be established to carry out research into aerodynamics and fluid mechanics (both experimental and computational activities), aircraft simulation and control, and space systems engineering. In aerodynamics research, the work will focus on improved understanding and predicting of complex flow phenomena. In aircraft simulation, research will concentrate on the guidance and control of unstaffed air vehicles for both civil and military applications. Lastly in space systems, key technology under development by the group will be concurrent design facility to allow space missions to be designed quickly and efficiently.
The land-based transportation theme for the Sustainable Mobility Group will research how and why people travel. Developing robust modelling techniques and testing the effects of infrastructural and other policy interventions on travel behaviour is essential to meet the needs of sustainable development. Research will centre on views of transport as a derived demand.
The Marine Transportation Group will focus on solutions for maximising efficiency of maritime transport through technological and managerial innovations. Key research areas will include: logistics; ship management; port operations; cargo handling; routing and deployment; traffic congestion and safety; intermodality; infrastructure; modelling of ship operations; and decision support systems.