Developing industry’s knowledge of the topic is seen as increasingly important, given the UK’s ambitious infrastructure pipeline.
The organisations will jointly fund environmental research on topics directly applicable to major infrastructure projects. The research areas will be chosen to provide benefits to particular schemes, and to help reduce adverse impacts and improve outcomes for the natural environment .
The partnership has evolved from the environmental consultancy work Aecom is delivering for the Mersey Gateway project.
Under the new partnership, Aecom and the University of Salford will co-fund research that could lead to PhD studies and scientific papers. Research areas could include exploring potential issues for wildlife when working in areas with contaminated sediments; predicting disturbance to sensitive species from construction activities; and investigating perceptions of biodiversity within construction.
Professor Nigel Mellors, pro vice chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of Salford, said: “This partnership will provide a unique opportunity for both parties. It fits into our aim of focusing our research at real life challenges and to deliver real life impact for society. It will also give our students the chance to get involved in a live project and help them develop key skills for industry.”
Peter Skinner, chief executive – environment & ground engineering, Europe, Middle East, India & Africa at Aecom, said: “Shaping research so that it is applicable to specific projects provides students with opportunities to make a tangible difference to both academia and industry through their learning. Greater collaboration between universities and the private sector will make an important contribution to mitigating the impact of infrastructure on the environment and protecting the natural world.”