Funding boost for infrastructure education
The University of Wollongong will establish a world-class research and training centre to address Australia’s future infrastructure needs, after receiving funding of $35 million from the Australian Government’s Higher Education Endowment Fund.
“The SMART (Simulation, Modelling and Analysis for Research and Teaching) Infrastructure Facility is the first of its kind in Australia and will position the nation at the forefront of international research into infrastructure,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia executive director Brendan Lyon.
“This facility will allow Australia to plan to deliver the right infrastructure, in the right place at the right time.
“The landmark facility will allow us to train graduates with the skill sets they need to really meet the demand for new, fit for purpose and innovative infrastructure.
“The Infrastructure Facility is the first of its kind in Australia – and will position the University at the centre of the nation’s largest infrastructure renewal programme since the post-War period.
“The secret to great infrastructure is great planning. What this facility will do is allow the University and Australia’s government to develop integrated, intricate models of Australia’s infrastructure assets, allowing us to plan with certainty for population and economic growth across a range of scenarios.
“Australia has to invest up to $800 billion over the next decade. This facility is an important part of improving the way we plan, maintain, and renew our infrastructure.
“The SMART Infrastructure Facility will assist in this challenge by providing independent, evidence-based research into a range of infrastructure requirements – from ports to power, wind turbines to water – through the use of sophisticated modelling, analysis and stimulation of large scale complex infrastructure systems.
“As the first of its kind in Australia and one of only a few centres in the world – this new infrastructure centre of excellence will help shape Australia’s policy and project priorities toward the best projects, at the best value.
“The provision of this grant is the result of several years of hard work from the staff of the University and a wide number of government and industry organisations – including IPA,” said Mr Lyon.
The project which will cost $61.8 million in total – also includes significant collaboration from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, BlueScope Steel, Cisco Systems, Cognos, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, IBM, Intergral Energy, NSW Government and Queensland Rail.