Kate McIlwain

SMART Infrastructure Facility: UOW to help develop national infrastructure

The University of Wollongong will create a world-class research and training centre to address Australia’s future infrastructure needs after securing $35 million in funding through the Australian Government’s 2009 Higher Education Endowment Fund.

The proposal draws together the University’s expertise in Engineering, Science, Commerce and Information Technologies to develop the comprehensive research and training facility to address the many issues relating to infrastructure development.

The SMART (Simulation, Modelling and Analysis for Research and Teaching) Infrastructure Facility will be the first of its kind in Australia, and one of a very few in the world.

The Higher Education Endowment Fund will contribute $35 million towards the $61.8 million cost of the project.

University of Wollongong Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton welcomed the Australian Government’s support, and acknowledged the strong and positive support from local Federal MPs, Sharon Bird and Jenny George.

“We are delighted that the Australian Government has taken a visionary approach to allocation of money from the Higher Education Endowment Fund,” Professor Sutton said. “We believe the SMART Infrastructure Facility will make a significant contribution to the nation throughout the 21st century, by providing highly analytical and scientific support for the nation’s major infrastructure projects.

“Now that we have federal backing, we will be approaching the NSW Government for financial support as major infrastructure projects are a priority for NSW.”

Professor Sutton said the need for Australia to invest in major infrastructure was well documented, from major transport projects in roads, ports and rail to energy generation and supply, water supplies, and housing and general construction.

Every project has a broad range of interdependent issues from economic, geographical/physical, logistical and environmental to security and social impacts, against a backdrop of climate change and the global economic situation.

The SMART Infrastructure Facility is designed to equip Australia to deal with future infrastructure planning in a systematic and scientific way, with holistic and evidence-based evaluation of infrastructure projects and training for professionals in the field.

UOW has a history of expertise and multi-faculty cooperation in major research and training fields – in particular the key disciplines that are likely to form part of the assessment and implementation of major infrastructure projects. These include Mathematics and Statistics, Earth Sciences, Materials Chemistry, Engineering, Information and Communications Technology, Economics, Human Geography, Logistics, Human Geography and Policy and Administration.

UOW also has a long history of significant and highly effective partnerships and engagement with industry and government bodies through research, commercialisation, linkage grants, careers and graduate employment.


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