11 Dec 2008 16:43:00.000
The University of Nottingham has joined forces with Atkins to launch an exciting new research programme in Highway Asset Management funded by a prestigious £700,000 Platform Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The programme will be led by Steve Biczysko from Atkins who will be seconded to the University on a part-time basis.
A growing number of asset-rich sectors in the UK and overseas — for example utility networks, power stations, railway and road infrastructure, airports, oil and gas installations, manufacturing and process plants — are adopting the principles of asset management.
The focus of the new research will be to improve the framework for optimising and implementing major decisions on the operation, maintenance, renewal and enhancement of physical assets like these, in order to deliver a safe, efficient and reliable infrastructure that supports the delivery of customer-focused services. These decisions drive tens of billions of pounds of investment in the engineering sector each year in the UK alone and have impacts on outputs of national significance.
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Atkins has been at the forefront of the development of highway asset management in the UK having developed national guidance in a number of areas related to the subject. Currently Atkins is advising the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland and the Highways Agency in developing and implementing their approach to asset management.
Alan Taggart, Director of the Highway Asset Management Group at Atkins, was delighted at the programme. He said: “The challenge of realising the benefits of asset management is critical, particularly at the current time, as highway asset owners seek greater efficiency from their asset both now and in the future. This programme will enable research to be focused on pushing forward the boundaries of current knowledge to maximise the benefits to highway asset owners.”
The research programme will draw on internationally leading research from across the University (for example in highway engineering, navigation/positioning systems, geotechnics, structures, business and finance) and will be based within the Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre (NTEC) which is headed by Professor Andrew Collop. It will fit in well with NTEC's recently announced programme to develop Asset Management in the railway sector jointly with Network Rail and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Professor Collop said: “We are looking to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines to make significant improvements, both in terms of the strategic approach to asset management and the detailed engineering components of the asset management system.”
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.