SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Changing methods and pathways for engagement with infrastructure services

This new project funded by the British Academy seeks to change current debates, policy and practice of infrastructure governance by bringing together diverse stakeholders. The project will build  interdisciplinary knowledge about real-life challenges of infrastructure governance and map how state-of-the-art research can support the ongoing dilemmas of infrastructure providers and decision-makers. The aim is to enable more value to be created from infrastructure research for non-academic actors.

Introduction

The proposed focus on infrastructure services responds to a growing need by industry, society and policy-makers to understand how infrastructure assets (roads, pipelines, buildings etc) can be translated into infrastructure services (such as mobility and housing) to meet the needs of communities; and to collaborate in using innovative and interdisciplinary research methods to study real-life issues and to inform policy-making at different levels (e.g. national and local).

Methodology

Infrastructure research in developing and transition countries have been more successful in introducing a wider variety of approaches, which challenge dominant ways of ‘seeing’ infrastructure, than largely siloed and modelling-based approaches to infrastructure research in developed world contexts (UK, EU). Importantly, there is demand within policymaking for state-of-the-art research to support infrastructure governance at national and local levels. Creating more value from infrastructure to communities is dependent on infrastructure research, as much as more efficient materials and processes of developing, operating and using infrastructure.  

This project aims to open up engagement with infrastructure across disciplines, government, industry and civil society through:

1) a practically-oriented and problem-driven workshop, focusing on opening up research methods for engaging with infrastructure.  

2) a policy and industry-oriented workshop designed to identify opportunities for engaging directly with policymaking and building on innovative methods for opening up infrastructure research;

3) a public discussion in Hastings on reimagining transport and heating in Net Zero, which would bring together infrastructure experts from the transport and energy sectors with hard to reach audiences..

Impact and Outreach

The project aims to create accessible outputs such as graphics and videos for a wide set of academic, government, industry and civil society actors and stakeholders.

Further information

This project is led by Dr Ralitsa Hiteva of SPRU.