In March 2017, the EPSRC announced £125m of government investment in new state-of-the-art facilities to upgrade the nation's ability to conduct research on infrastructure resilience, an initiative in which Cranfield is playing a pivotal role.

The facilities are to be housed at 11 universities as part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC).

Here at Cranfield, existing facilities will be extended and new test and development spaces created as part of the £80m National Urban Water Infrastructure Facility, which includes associated investments at Sheffield and Newcastle.

Professor Paul Jeffrey, Director of Water, said; “This project is hugely exciting; not just because of the new facilities and research opportunities that it presents, but because it will build on our impressive work in this sector, and bring huge international benefits. It will also link in to Cranfield’s aim to become a fully interconnected campus, with a digitalised infrastructure and intelligent mobility road.”

Several investments will enhance the existing industrial-scale test facilities on campus in two locations. On the main campus investments will be made to provide;

  • a sensor testing facility for exploring the engineering resilience of urban water systems
  • a test area dedicated to the development and testing of point of use water treatment technologies
  • an Infrastructure Breakthrough Innovation Hub with mixed use areas for design, rapid prototyping, and testing
  • a data visualisation suite providing access to data feeds from infrastructure across campus – including from the two pilot halls
  • walk-in access to utility infrastructure located under the road to the east of the building.

A second bundle of investments is located at the University’s treatment works north of the campus.

This will complement an existing wastewater pilot hall and comprise;

  • a new build 220m2 clean water pilot hall housing parallel plug-and-play treatment trains and an advanced soil and sediment erosion testing environment
  • test and control sewer loops for analysing the impact and control of Fats, Oils, and Greases (FOG) in sewer systems
  • large scale storage and distribution systems for raw water supply to the existing and new pilot halls.

What is UKCRIC?

UKCRIC aims to address the insufficient and unsustainable value extracted by services using national infrastructure. UKCRIC proposes to create and operate a national and international multidisciplinary research programme that addresses the issues of unaffordable and unsustainable infrastructure development, in a partnership between Industry, Government and Academia. The UKCRIC project starts with enhanced capital investment in shared facilities in academic institutions but will involve further development of a wide range of multidisciplinary research and teaching programmes.

Read the EPSRC press release.

Cranfield University Treatment Works
Cranfield University’s treatment works will benefit from UKCRIC investment