UC QuakeCentre awarded $12 million to engineer a more resilient future

30 November 2017

A University of Canterbury infrastructure engineering programme, which aims to transform the New Zealand construction industry into a world-leader, is set to benefit in this year’s MBIE Partnerships Scheme investment funding round to the tune of $12 million.

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    The project, Building Innovation: Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Improved Value and Resilience, is led by UC Quake Centre director Dr Robert Finch.

A University of Canterbury infrastructure engineering programme, which aims to transform the New Zealand construction industry into a world-leader, is set to benefit in this year’s MBIE Partnerships Scheme investment funding round to the tune of $12 million.

The project, titled “Building Innovation: Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Improved Value and Resilience”, is led by UC Quake Centre director Dr Robert Finch with UC’s Ada Rutherford Professor of Architectural Engineering Larry Bellamy as the Science Leader. The MBIE Partnership award will amount to $5 million over seven years, plus significant co-funding of $7 million.

The UC Quake Centre was established in response to the Canterbury earthquakes, to deliver advanced engineering solutions to improve the resilience and sustainability of New Zealand’s buildings and infrastructure.

UC Quake Centre director Dr Finch welcomed the MBIE Partnership funding announcement.

“It means both industry and Government can now work together to drive research outcomes that will change and improve the performance and affordability of infrastructure development in New Zealand over the long term,” he says.

“Ultimately this will contribute to wealth creation for the country and more resilient communities.”

Professor Bellamy says the aim is for commercialisation of new digital and material technologies to be under way within two years of the project ending, spawning a new manufacturing sector and significantly improving the productivity of the building industry.

“After five years, we expect leading firms will be utilising new building methods and technologies with direct financial benefits to New Zealand in the hundreds of millions each year.”

UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Wright says the UC Quake Centre’s 2017 MBIE Partnerships investment success shows that UC is advancing its research portfolio in highly competitive and prestigious funding opportunities.

“Competition was very high, UC submitted one full proposal, which was accepted. UC continues to reinforce its reputation as a place where world-class research happens.”

About the project 

Building Innovation: Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Improved Value and Resilience

The purpose of this programme is to transform the building and construction industry so that it leads the world in digital design and construction methods, material and manufacturing technologies, and construction systems. A sector which is internationally competitive, enhances the wealth, resilience and well-being of New Zealand communities and supports higher levels of economic growth.

This proposal responds to the government’s national statement of science investment and the business growth agenda by increasing building and construction sector investment in research, supporting new export growth and productivity gains with a focus in the following areas:

  • Innovative digital building technologies, methods and processes that improve the performance and cost efficiency of buildings and horizontal infrastructure.
  • Innovative material and manufacturing technologies, as well as construction methods, to provide more cost-effective solutions for the design of resilient non-structural building elements, spawning a new manufacturing and export sector. Additional benefits are provided by improving performance in other areas such as improved energy efficiency.
  • Innovative construction systems to reduce infrastructure costs through the development of ‘optimised’ design solutions, new testing and compliance protocols and the introduction of new tools to assist with longer term investment decisions and asset management strategies, leading to better use of rates and other local taxes.

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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