The University of Leeds and design consultant Arup have signed an agreement which will lead to collaborations in education and research.
The partnership, which will run until 2017, will see academics from the University working alongside designers, engineers and technical experts at Arup to address major challenges to society. This unique partnership will bring together engineering and social science expertise to address global problems and issues, acknowledging that many of the toughest problems are at the interface between engineering and human behaviour.
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.
The University of Leeds already enjoys several research links with Arup in areas including intelligent asset management, lifecycle carbon and energy accounting, low carbon vehicles and critical assessment of urban infrastructure.
The Memorandum of Understanding extends this relationship. Research coming out of the partnership is expected to guide future policy development in private and public sector organisations, cities, regions and governments worldwide. Both partners are also committing to developing staff and students through joint working and the creation of professional development programmes and people exchanges.
Professor Michael Arthur, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: "The University's purpose is to create, advance and disseminate knowledge, develop outstanding graduates and scholars, and to make a major impact upon global society. That impact can be maximised through partnerships with likeminded people, like those at Arup, who share our values and our ambition. Research and innovation are central to the culture at Arup, just as they are at Leeds, and we look forward to building this important relationship."
Professor Denise Bower, Director of the University of Leeds' Engineering Project Academy, added: "The University is working with Arup to develop its knowledge and capability in providing leading edge asset management services to clients. This work should help Arup and its clients meet the challenges set out in the National Infrastructure Plan and the Government's Construction Strategy.
"Another area of mutual interest is the recovery of resources, including energy, from waste water. If we can develop methods of promoting growth, extracting and treating algae economically from waste water flows we can produce biodiesels, fertilizers, and other high value chemicals,. then wWe would then have an important new environmental technology and also a great business opportunity."
Philip Dilley, group chairman of Arup, said: "This Memorandum of Understanding builds on an existing strong relationship between Arup and the University of Leeds, in which Arup and University teams have worked on strategy, research and postgraduate training. By formalising our partnership via this agreement, we hope to develop a community of innovation, and share information on opportunities to work jointly with business and public sector organisations in the UK and internationally."
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