Wednesday 26th April
Valuing and financing infrastructure, and the wider financial pressures at city and regional scales.
Click here for a pdf of the full conference schedule.
The conference will explore the benefits to local authorities, elected members and officers of working with university researchers. There will be interactive sessions, panel discussions, networking and short presentations around the future of local infrastructure and local government funding pressures, focused on creating strong working partnerships between local authorities and academics through exploring the following key themes.
- What are the main issues for local authority funding and finance of infrastructure provision?
- How do Universities work with local authorities and other stakeholders to address these?
- Working together – the importance of evidence based research.
- How can we better understand infrastructure needs, purpose and value?
- What new local government business models are emerging and what can we learn from this?
Working to benefit local authorities
In a time of increased austerity and with constant financial pressures on local authorities it is essential that we work closely with groups and organisations that enable us to make the most informed decisions across all policy areas.
Building effective links with universities can offer local authorities a huge opportunity to take part in multi-disciplinary research networks. Key examples include iBUILD , ICIF  and FESSUD , enabling authorities to make informed decisions on major aspects of infrastructure such as energy, digital, waste, transport and housing. These networks can give local authorities access to substantial funding in support of innovative ideas, and benefit academics through building research that can be applied with greater impact.
These collaborations are feasible only because of a dedication to partnership working. There is considerable room to expand on these relationships to the benefit of local authorities, communities and academic research. But partnership working has its challenges. This conference will showcase current examples and the new business models emerging, share lessons learned in partnership working on infrastructure and build networks that can help take new collaborations forward.
 IBUILD is a partnership between University of Leeds, Newcastle University and University of Birmingham. It is developing new business models to improve the delivery of infrastructure systems and the services they provide. These new business models will better exploit the technical and market opportunities that emerge from the increased interdependence of modern infrastructure systems. As cities, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships are given more powers for infrastructure delivery and to raise finances it is crucial to develop robust new business models to develop infrastructure related business and growth locally – to the benefit of the Nation.
 ICIF (The Infrastructure Centre for Infrastructure Futures) is an interdisciplinary, practice-orientated research centre conducting fundamental research on infrastructure. ICIF brings together leading academics and early career researchers from six UK universities: University College London, Cranfield University and the Universities of Bristol, Brighton, Sussex and Southampton. ICIF is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council
 FESSUD (Financialisation, economy, society and sustainable development). FESSUD brings together expertise from many leading universities to look afresh at how the financial system affects the world around us and what can be done to make the financial system work for society, the economy and the environment and not – as has sometimes been the case – the other way round.