Three million euros for research to improve Dutch infrastructures

5 September 2017

Maintaining and improving infrastructures in the Netherlands requires, amongst other things, a better coordination between various parties, the innovative use of data flows, new business models and flexibility. To meet this challenge, NGinfra and NWO have awarded funding to six research projects in the first round of the programme Responsive Innovations.

Busy road heading towarts city

The programme Responsive Innovations is the outcome of a collaboration between the knowledge platform Next Generation Infrastructures (NGinfra) and NWO. NGinfra is a knowledge centre in which Rijkswaterstaat, the Port of Rotterdam, Alliander, ProRail, Vitens, the Schiphol Group and KPN have joined forces to enable the infrastructure in the Netherlands to adequately respond to current and future changes.

The aim of the first round of the demand-driven research programme Responsive Innovations is to develop new knowledge about responsive infrastructure, to stimulate multidisciplinary collaboration between infrastructures and to bridge the gap between research and practice. An international selection committee has assessed the proposals and issued an advice to the Board (of the) NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities and the board of NGinfra. They decided to award funding to the six projects described below. In the projects, researchers and infrastructure managers from NGinfra will collaborate to ensure that research and everyday practice are closely linked with each other and that knowledge dissemination can already take place during the realisation of the research.


Responsive Infrastructure Through Responsive Institutions (RITRI)
Principal applicant: Dr A. Hartmann (University of Twente)
The smart combination of investments from infrastructure managers provides opportunities to increase the responsiveness of infrastructure networks. This requires coordination between infrastructure managers. In this research, joint scenario development, institutional analysis, stress tests and serious gaming will be used to provide insight into which institutional changes must be implemented to make use of these opportunities.

Using data streams to support the integrated design, construction and management of interconnecting infrastructures
Principal applicant: Prof. H.L.M. Bakker (Delft University of Technology)
Maintaining and updating infrastructural networks requires resilience and flexibility for the future. Besides increasing the added value, managers must also be open to new challenges and unconventional solutions outside of their own network. This proposal intends to make use of data flows for the further development of intersecting networks.

Inter-organisational collaboration in the governance of subsurface infrastructure networks
Principal applicant: Prof. A.H. van Marrewijk (VU Amsterdam)
Critical infrastructures in urban areas are increasingly found underground. The limited space in subsurface networks forces infrastructure managers to collaborate when taking decisions concerning the construction and replacement of such infrastructures. The study will investigate different types of successful collaboration and agreements and arrangements between organisations to create such resilient networks.

Legal & Organisational Network & Governance Aspects of Data-Driven Innovations in Infrastructure Management (LONGA VIA).
Principal applicant: Prof. S.A.C.M. Lavrijssen (Tilburg University)
New data-driven innovations for critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, water and transport, contribute to the proper functioning of these sectors. This research will develop new business models and rules that will make it possible to realise an optimal application of these new innovations by infrastructure managers.

Building cooperation capabilities for improving resilience and optimising joint maintenance in future infrastructures
Principal applicant: Prof. D.P. van Donk (University of Groningen)
Jointly realising maintenance and renovation projects can yield benefits for the accessibility against lower costs. However, little is known about how this should be realised. The aim of this project is to develop optimisation models and organisation structures and processes with which the various interested partners can reach agreements and collaborate together.

D-to-MII: Design to Manage Interconnected Infrastructures
Principal applicant: Prof. E.F. ten Heuvelhof (Delft University of Technology)
When infrastructures are replaced, the managers of these increasingly encounter dependencies between infrastructures and their use. In this project, we will describe the processes involved in replacing interrelated infrastructures and we will support the development of guidelines and solutions to apply responsive innovations for the infrastructure of the future. Furthermore, we will help to secure the interests that play a role in the use, management and maintenance of infrastructures.

Source: NWO