Activity with the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR) is moving along as briskly as construction on the new CIR building at the RELLIS Campus. With all that movement, the CIR continues grading the road ahead toward its vision of being the leading source for the development of transformative infrastructure solutions.
In late summer and throughout the fall, CIR personnel have been busy laying the groundwork for the center’s future by hosting two workshops and an idea lab, and attending a national symposium on infrastructure.
In late summer, CIR partnered with the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston to host a Smart and Connected Communities workshop.
“We were able to identify research ideas for a joint Texas A&M and University of Houston proposal targeted for the NSF S&CC program in 2018,” said John Barton, Assistant Vice Chancellor Texas A&M University System, RELLIS Director and CIR Executive Director.
In September, Dr. Julian Kang, associate professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M, hosted a Virtual Reality and Simulation (VRS) Lab workshop. Kang informed attendees how VRS Lab can help other professors conduct their research.
“Virtual reality truly is cutting-edge technology with the potential to transform the way we research, understand and develop solutions to many of today’s infrastructure issues,” Kang said. “It’s important for others to learn how this exciting technology can assist their research and development activities.”
Additionally, CIR personnel also attended a symposium in September at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The symposium, Barriers & Opportunities for Renewing our National Critical Infrastructure, featured a variety of participants from academia, industry and government, including U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“This was a very successful symposium as we identified several paths forward in the effort to renew our national critical infrastructure,” Barton said. “This symposium helped us better understand where we are today and how to go forward in the future.”
Similarly, the CIR hosted an Idea Lab Manufacturing Workshop in late September. The two-day workshop included a collaboration of academia from Texas A&M, the University of Houston and the University of North Texas to brainstorm new ideas on three key work areas: new expansion of infrastructure; upgrading and refreshing existing infrastructure; and maintain existing aged assets. Furthermore, the Idea Lab group discussed how these topics apply across critical areas such as the private sector, civil sector and the military.
“The Idea Lab was very fruitful for us as we identified a number of areas where we can jointly pursue research funding and grants that can have a transformational impact in these sectors,” Barton said.