Why universities, industries and government bodies need to start the conversation
An interview with Professor Andrew Griffiths
The Australian Government has committed to investing billions of dollars into infrastructure in the coming years. However, one of the key challenges lies around the type of spend on infrastructure and where we should be investing the funding.
As the Executive Dean, Faculty of Business Economics and Law at The University of Queensland, I’ve spent countless hours researching and expanding my knowledge in areas including strategy and climate change, climate change resilience and corporate sustainability.
I’ve had a long history and engagement in the area of sustainability and the creation of community and economic resilience, which is why I believe we need to start having these conversations about the type of spend on infrastructure between universities, industries and government bodies.
Why do we need to start the conversation?
Investments this large necessitate the need to have a forum where industries and government bodies meet universities so they can discuss ideas about the future with other experts in the field.
Organisations like the Infrastructure CoLab are drivers of these conversations that allow universities to bring their knowledge, expertise and student base into the issues faced by both industry and government around infrastructure.
We need to start these conversations together so we can determine a holistic understanding about sustainable infrastructure to ensure we are looking for the best long-term community, societal and economic outcomes.
How do we change the perception around sustainable infrastructure?
Great opportunities exist for Australia’s construction and infrastructure sectors to realise the environmental and strategic organisational benefits associated with sustainable materials use and moving towards circular supply chains.
We’ve lived in a paradigm where it’s been easier to dig things up, convert it into material and then put it into infrastructure. It’s a very easy supply chain model, however, now is the time to start looking at sustainable infrastructure through a circular supply chain model.
Ideally, we should already be considering sustainability in our decision-making process by what we know about climate change. We’ve seen the floods and fires and we know the intensity of cyclones. So, we need our infrastructure to keep our communities viable and in such a way that we enhance our adaptability when it comes to design and construction.
At the Infrastructure CoLab we try to make people think about how we can integrate material back into the community, how we can close the gaps, and where we can reuse and recycle. That’s really the challenge – changing the way people think, however this is where the conversations start and continue to grow and evolve.
How can you be part of the conversation?
Infrastructure CoLab allows university, industry, and government leaders and emerging professionals a forum to revisit the future of infrastructure and discuss opportunities and ideas for where funding should be spent.
On Wednesday 12 May, Infrastructure CoLab will be kicking off its launch event with an immersive workshop, drawing from the learnings and successes of industry-led co-innovation programs. Following the launch event, participants will take part in immersive sessions over 3 to 5 months, developing solutions to the identified problems.
We will be talking about ways we can incorporate and adapt infrastructure to make it more sustainable and resilient for the future.
If you want to have your say in these conversations, join our program today. https://infrastructurecolab.com/