The International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) Project will create a shared, facilitated learning environment in which social scientists, engineers, industrialists, policy makers and other stakeholders can research and learn together to understand how better to exploit the technical and market opportunities that emerge from the increased interdependence of infrastructure systems. The Centre will focus on the development and implementation of innovative business models and aims to support UK firms wishing to exploit them in international markets. The Centre will undertake a wide range of research activities on infrastructure interdependencies with users, which will allow problems to be discovered and addressed earlier and at lower cost. Because infrastructure innovations alter the social distribution of risks and rewards, the public needs to be involved in decision making to ensure business models and forms of regulation are socially robust. As a consequence, the Centre has a major focus on using its research to catalyse a broader national debate about the future of the UK’s infrastructure, and how it might contribute towards a more sustainable, economically vibrant, and fair society.
As systems based on human-agent collectives grow in scale, complexity and temporal extent, we will increasingly require a principled science that allows us to reason about the computational and human aspects of these systems if we are to avoid developments that are unsafe, unreliable and lack the appropriate safeguards to ensure societal acceptance. Delivering this science is the core research objective of this programme.