Acknowledging that many of the toughest problems are at the interface between engineering and human behaviour this unique partnership brings together engineering and social science expertise to address major challenges in society.


The University of Leeds enjoys several research links with Arup in areas including intelligent asset management, lifecycle carbon and energy accounting, low carbon vehicles, intelligent mobility and critical assessment of urban infrastructure. The collaboration increases information sharing and both organisations proactively seek opportunities to work with both UK and international organisations on research projects and in developing knowledge transfer opportunities, drawing on IP created by Arup and the University.


The School of Civil Engineering and the Socio-Technical Centre are currently working on a project which takes a holistic approach to asset management. The project is devising a new approach to asset management bringing together the management of physical resources, with the management of people, organisational culture and business processes. Working with the University’s Institute for Resilient Infrastructure based in the School of Civil Engineering, Arup and a team of academics have identified opportunities to develop tangible solutions to the issues faced by migration on our transport systems, the supply of utilities and on the built environment. The Transport Systems Hub at the University of Leeds, is currently benefitting from an inward secondment from Arup. This secondee has a background in transport planning and modelling, but has the wider remit of helping our partnership identify and exploit new opportunities together. In this capacity, she is currently progressing discussions within Arup on a major new potential collaboration with the University on city-simulation research. In parallel, she and an academic colleague from Engineering, have been awarded funding through Arup’s ‘Global Research Challenge’ competition to work together to model the potential impacts of the introduction of Driverless Cars.


The partnership agreement will foster new thinking in sustainable and resilient business practices through research into green behaviours at work, innovative transport systems, energy reduction and efficient use of resources. Another area of mutual interest is the recovery of resources, including energy, from waste water. If methods of promoting growth and extracting and treating algae economically from waste water flows can be developed this could lead to the production of biodiesels, fertilizers, and other high value chemicals. The discussions taking place regarding the simulation of future cities may also result in the creation of a new shared innovation space on campus at the University.


The collaboration provides a commitment to developing talent, leadership and vision, plus the development of curricula and courses at postgraduate and post-experience levels. For example, through participating in the Institute for Transport Studies’ annual Industry Advisory Board, Arup is able to pass on industry insights on the skills required of future graduates and thereby help to shape education provision accordingly. Arup also takes part in annual graduate recruitment open-days to promote opportunities to the University’s students as well as providing subject-specific external seminars for students which help to connect taught  material with real-world practice.

Personnel development
The University and Arup are committing to developing staff and students through joint working and the creation of professional development programmes and people exchanges. More than 100 University of Leeds alumni work at Arup. The University has also used EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account funding to co-fund secondments between the two organisations.