Climate change, energy transitions, increasing risks of water scarcity and flooding, rapid urbanisation, shifts in mobility & modes of transport, and the push for circularity: these trends create a societal challenge for the state, use and renewal of our economic infrastructure. In our vision, the Civil Engineering discipline has a key role to play in coping with these societal challenges and in providing innovative insights and solutions that make living environments healthier, safer and more sustainable. As a Construction Management & Engineering group we envisage our research as a multidisciplinary task that goes beyond the technical challenge of civil engineering into environmental, social and economic dimensions and their trade-offs.
Bridges, roads, canals, power lines, sewage systems and buildings comprise vital infrastructures and public networks that are commonly taken for granted. In today’s dynamic society, we expect uninterrupted operation and functional continuity of our infrastructure systems, particularly in urbanized and highly populated areas. Projects for extending, upgrading and maintaining infrastructures are considered intrusions into people’s living environments. This makes working in this area technologically challenging and societally sensitive. Therefore, we aim for a life-cycle approach and an integral perspective on the planning, investment, use, maintenance and renewal of infrastructure systems.
Difficulties arise due to the complexity of decision-making, planning and execution of construction activities, which are often divided over different phases and involve a great number of public and private stakeholders to be dealt with. Institutional and contractual frameworks create interfaces where inter-organizational barriers cause sub-optimality. Within this fragmented structure, the success and failure of infrastructure management and project delivery depend heavily on efficient integration, coordination and cooperation across the entire value chain.