Innovation Programme 'Future-proof infrastructure' receives 100 million euros from National Growth Fund

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The National Growth Fund (NGF) has awarded 100 million euros to the Future-Proof Living Environment programme for the realisation of sustainable economic growth and a transition in the construction and infrastructure sector. Within the programme, the consortium partners are working on smarter maintenance and replacement and renovation of civil engineering structures based on innovation and digital solutions. Witteveen+Bos is one of the initiators of the consortium.

The 100 million euro subsidy amount is divided into a sum of 60 million euros which is available now, and a conditional award of 40 million euros for the (further) development of important industrial new-build and renovation solutions.

Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) Construction and Technology is coordinating the programme. With over 130 partners, it represents the entire sector in the Netherlands, including research institutes, clients and leading contractors and engineering firms.

The Netherlands owes much of its prosperity to reliable infrastructure. Many of our bridges, tunnels and quay walls date from the post-war reconstruction era (1960-1980) and will need replacing or renovating in the coming decades.

This restoration will involve diversions and related inconvenience for users and residents and will require substantial investments. Despite the scarcity of employees and materials, maintaining the quality of the infrastructure is of national importance. To tackle this complex task properly, it is essential to think creatively and find innovative solutions for the maintenance, replacement and renovation of civil engineering structures.

Via public clients and the existing replacement and renovation (V&R) programme of civil engineering structures, the programme aims to speed up transition in the infrastructure. The top consortium also includes the Talking Assets collaboration, in which Witteveen+Bos, Fugro, TNO, Royal HaskoningDHV, Arcadis, Movares and Deloitte work together. Talking Assets will lead the 'Data-driven management and maintenance' project.

Within this subproject, the consortium partners will develop scalable digital solutions and smart working methods for more effective decision-making within the V&R programme. This will help prevent unexpected outages in our infrastructure, like recently with the Prinses Margriet tunnel in Friesland and the Nelson Mandela bridge in Zoetermeer.

Roeland Allewijn, Rijkswaterstaat Chief Data Officer: 'Rijkswaterstaat is delighted with the National Growth Fund's award. Among other things, it will be invested in digital solutions for management, maintenance and renovation. That is vital in view of the massive task facing Rijkswaterstaat and other infrastructure managers. The proposed activities reinforce the collaboration, make us smarter together and help us get more work done.'

Leonie Koops, head of sector Infrastructure and Mobility at Witteveen+Bos and chairperson of the advisory board ‘Lifespan extension built environment’ in the TKI programme: 'This award provides us with fantastic support to enable us to continue our collaboration. Due to the extent of the V&R programme and the scarcity of labour, time and materials, we will need to use these resources economically. It is important to take a focused and efficient approach to our tasks, for example by equipping our critical civil engineering structures with sensors, giving these essential junctions a 'voice' about their condition. Because reliable infrastructure is the basis of our economy. It's good to see that society recognises the usefulness and necessity of this. The partners already have a lot of knowledge and techniques to respond to the V&R challenge. The support of the National Growth Fund ensures that together we can learn, share knowledge and develop and thus accelerate the implementation of innovations and develop data-driven asset management further.'

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