Organisation and background
The consortium is governed by a constitution, a copy of which is available on this website, and is managed by a steering group.
Professor Gordon Airey of University of Nottingham is the Director of the consortium and chairs the steering group. As the consortium is administered through the University of Nottingham some administrative support from the University is required. In addition, there is a volunteer secretary, currently Dr Nick Thom, to deal with the correspondence with members and facilitate some of the day to day operation. Membership of the steering group is by invitation and it is made up of academics from the Universities who are engaged with NARC and representatives from the membership. As far as is possible the industrial representatives are selected so that there is someone from all sectors of the industry, for example government bodies, contractors, consultants and suppliers of materials and processes.
In 1998 the academics engaged in asphalt and pavement research at the University of Nottingham established the Nottingham Asphalt Research Consortium. The purpose of the original NARC was to provide a research led collaboration between the Universities of Nottingham, Edinburgh and Cambridge and organisations in the asphalt and related industries. (The University of Edinburgh left the consortium shortly after it was formed leaving Nottingham and Cambridge.) The original plan, which is still followed was for the consortium to meet at regular intervals to provide the opportunity for a co-operative dialogue between academia and industry, with a view to developing innovative solutions to engineering problems. Tri-annual Technical meetings continue to be organised to cover topical subjects and discuss future industry research needs. NARC has organised a number of short-courses, which provide continuing professional development to practitioners and researchers alike. In its original format the Consortium also provided some funding for PhD research carried out under the NARC umbrella at either Nottingham or Cambridge.The severe recession had a significant effect on NARC and membership, and therefore income reduced significantly. At the same time the funding model for Universities changed significantly and so it became increasingly difficult for NARC to support PhD students. In order to tackle the challenge embodied in maintaining an ageing transport infrastructure with decreasing resources and maintain the original objective of NARC “to provide a co-operative dialogue between academia and industry”, NARC expanded the university membership in 2018 to include Aston, Brunel, East London and Ulster and re-named itself as the “National Asphalt Research Consortium.” It also decided to launch a plan to provide short focused research projects, of 1-year duration and selected by members in place of the former PhD studentships. The key part of this initiative is that projects are selected by members.