CSEI Industry Showcase Event 2021


Showcase event

CSEI Industry Showcase Event 2021

On 29th September 2021 the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation (CSEI) held its fifth annual Industry Showcase event.

With a theme of sustainability, resilience and the role of infrastructure in achieving a net-zero target, the event was run in a hybrid format. CSEI welcomed around 70 of our industry partners, collaborators and colleagues to explore questions around infrastructure, climate change adaptation and how it links with the transition to net-zero, with a particular focus on what COP26 will imply.

The day was opened by the Head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Professor Washington Ochieng who welcomed participants and gave an overview of the Department.

CSEI Director, Dr Ana Mijic, then briefly outlined the Centre’s research, long-term vision and strategy. Dr Mijic observed that, within CSEI, we see the infrastructure system inextricably linked to the natural one, and that our research aims to develop Environmentally-Positive Infrastructure.

Our first keynote, Cara Labuschagne, Senior Analyst in the Climate Change Committee’s adaptation secretariat, who leads the CCC’s work on infrastructure, addressed the climate risks and progress in adaptation in relation to UK infrastructure, noting how adaptation is still under-resourced compared to mitigation. She also noted that:

  • There are pitfalls in exclusively focusing on Net Zero
  • Adaptation is hard to communicate and visualise as there is no single vision, target or metric
  • Adaptation is a process and not an outcome
  • There are some investment challenges as benefits are long-term, whilst costs are short-term

Subsequent sessions covered CSEI’s research and spanned across three main subthemes: the role of digital, design and integration in creating sustainable infrastructure.

Session 1 focused on low carbon materials and design optimisation:

Session 2 explored systems approaches to flood and water management:

  • Dr Alalea Kia – ‘Climate Change Resilient Permeable Infrastructure for a Net-Zero Future’
  • Dr Barnaby Dobson – ‘Water Systems Integration as the basis of water digital twins to develop sustainable water systems’

Our second keynote speaker was Tim Chapman, Director, London Office Leader, Net Zero Carbon Infrastructure Leader at Arup, who discussed the challenges, and opportunities, linked to the decarbonisation of a major developed economy, arguing that to succeed we need behavioural as well as technological change. He also noted that to fight climate change we need:

  • More than an exclusive focus on carbon
  • Not just mitigation –also resilience, which has to be achieved in the broadest sense possible –cyber, societal, etc.
  • Holistic solutions
  • Biodiversity and Natural Capital
  • Social Value / ‘Justice’

Panel sessionTo close the day, our Panel Discussion on systems approaches to sustainable infrastructure was chaired by Dr Ana Mijic and comprised of the two keynote speakers plus Professor Jennifer Whyte who joined the discussion from the University of Sydney, where she is Head of the School of Project Management and Director of the John Grill Institute for Project leadership. The panel discussed how a systems approach can facilitate infrastructure resilience to climate change, the importance of flexibility, and the role of research and education in forming the engineers of the future.

As well as presentations and the opportunity to create connections, the event was also an opportunity for delegates to learn about other Centre projects that were showcased by our Post-Doctoral Researchers by means of research posters.

If you missed our Showcase, you can watch a recording of the event here.

If you would like to hear more about CSEI’s research, contact our Research and Engagement Manager Dr Jeni Giambona, j.giambona@imperial.ac.uk, or visit our Get Involved page.

To get updates on our future events join our mailing list.


Jeni Giambona

Jeni Giambona
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Contact details

Email: j.giambona@imperial.ac.uk

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