UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced a £4 million investment to establish a national Centre of Excellence for Resilient Infrastructure Analysis.
It said the move reflects a crucial priority in aiming to ensure the UK is prepared for the sudden impacts of extreme floods, water and food shortages, energy failures and other challenges.
The centre of excellence will bring together strands of research to tackle these challenges and create more resilient cities and societies.
It is scheduled to open next month and will operate virtually as an extension of the UKRI funded Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI).
It will provide a safe and accessible online space to facilitate collaboration and sharing of knowledge and data, and support data analysis in research into resilience in the natural and built environment.
Collaboration and integration
The DAFNI platform will provide the scope for the centre’s researchers to collaborate online, scale their research, integrate computational models and model workflows, and share models and data with other infrastructure researchers in the UK and further afield.
The investment has been made available through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) scientific computing department as part of UKRI’s strategic theme on building a secure and resilient world.
Tom Griffin, director of STFC scientific computing, said: “We need to streamline the way in which research data is collected, stored, and made available to the people who need to use it to plan for, and respond to, dramatic events that affect people and their environments.
“The DAFNI platform is able to do just that and, through the new centre of excellence, will enable government advisors, town planners and researchers to share and analyse data whenever it’s needed.”
Short and long term threats
Dr Brian Matthews, STFC DAFNI group leader, said: “We have seen threats of energy price rises, issues on ensuring food supplies, and global pandemics, while in the long term we face the threat of climate change. Computer models help us understand how these threats might impact our society and environment, and how we might be better prepared.
“The centre of excellence will form a focus for the world-leading research that we have in the UK.”
UKRI said an associated funding opportunity totalling £1.4 million for research projects to support the centre of excellence will open to applications in April. It will be split into three areas: supporting key models; developing a resilience framework; and exploring resilience scenarios.