Cornell University: “Unprecedented workshop” highlights new infrastructure delivery methods

The Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP) at the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at Cambridge University (CSIC) will bring together top private and public sector leaders, academics, experts, and practitioners for a workshop focusing on new methods of infrastructure delivery.

The workshop – Funding, Financing & Emerging Technologies in Infrastructure to Improve Resilience, Sustainability and Universal Access – will be held July 11-14 at Cornell Tech in New York City. Some workshop sessions will also be livestreamed allowing participants worldwide to engage in discussions. The conference is funded by the National Science Foundation and the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

“This will be an unprecedented opportunity for the smartest minds in infrastructure to share the latest thinking and develop new strategies,” said CPIP academic director Rick Geddes, a professor in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. “Time is money because of Congress’ passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the global demand for improved transit and public services to respond to climate change.”

Signifying the international nature of the gathering, attendees will be welcomed by Professor Lord Robert Mair, a world-leading geotechnical engineer and tunneling expert. He serves at the University of Cambridge as the Emeritus Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering and director of research. He is also Founding Head of CSIC.

Experts from infrastructure’s technological, engineering, social, environmental, economic, and financial dimensions will discuss how a multi-disciplinary approach can address numerous pressing policy challenges. Those include infrastructure resilience in the face of climate change impacts, net zero carbon emissions and social equity, with a view to identifying potential policy implications and research needs.

Discussions will be led by prominent leaders in the field including:

Raymond DiPrinzio – a Senior Vice President and Team Leader of the Infrastructure Finance Team at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. He is responsible for originating and arranging debt financing for infrastructure projects in North America. He also serves on the CPIP Board of Advisors.

Thomas O’Rourke ’70 – The Thomas R. Briggs Professor in Engineering Emeritus in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and associate director of CPIP, O’Rourke is an expert in geotechnical engineering for earth retention systems, foundations, and soil/structure interaction; earthquake engineering; underground construction technology, and engineering of large, geographically distributed systems, such as water supplies, gas and liquid fuel systems, electric power, and transportation facilities.

Jennifer Schooling – Director of CSIC and an expert in the development and delivery of smart infrastructure solutions to real-life industry problems. She is also an expert in using data as an engineering tool for tackling pressing challenges facing industry, including climate change, resource constraint and resilience.

Kenichi Soga – A professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley, Soga is the founding director of the Center for Smart Infrastructure, a collaboration with the East Bay Municipal Utility District that applies cutting-edge technology to tackle infrastructure challenges caused by climate change, aging systems, and natural hazards.

“This is an important and timely event bringing together international experts across academia, policy and practice to explore how to improve infrastructure delivery in a post-COVID world through innovative funding and financing as well as emerging technologies,” Schooling said. “The thinking from both in-person and online events will help shape the outputs from this international workshop, which will be crafted into a series of white papers to be shared with a wider audience, including policymakers, and they will inform future research agendas.”