CIRIA participates in iSMART stakeholder workshop

The Infrastructure Slopes Sustainable Management and Resilience Assessment (iSMART) programme, funded by EPSRC, held a stakeholder workshop on 26th February to discuss the challenges and opportunities being faced now and into the future in the management of infrastructure slopes.

CIRIA project manager, Philip Charles, joined a wide range of stakeholders at this event, hosted by Loughborough University.

The programme for the workshop included a combination of plenary presentations from John Dora (John Dora Consulting), David Patterson (Highways Agency), Lee Parry (Mott MacDonald) and Christina Jackson (Amey), and breakout sessions discussing the challenges and opportunities being faced now and into the future in the management of infrastructure slopes.

iSMART aims to understand materials (particularly clay fills) and system behaviour under current and future, forecasted weather event sequences and to be able to integrate the understanding across 3 scales. These scales address the soil-water-vegetation system of a single slope (scale 1) and the systems of slopes (scale 2) that make up a transport network (scale 3).

In particular, the differences in cyclic material behaviour resulting from wetting/drying in clay soils/fills, the impact of vegetation type and coverage, and the influence of the large regional variations in geology, climate and climate change.

Building on this, iSMART collaborate with key asset owners to use this scientific understanding to inform advanced inspection, monitoring, maintenance and repair regimes.

The legacy of this project will be a co-ordinated community of researchers and stakeholders equipped with a virtual research centre (field sites, advanced models, data sets) which will continue to meet the challenges of providing sustainable infrastructure.

Further details on iSMART can be found on the project website:

Recent extreme weather and its continuing impact on infrastructure slopes has highlighted the importance of this CIRIA supported project. The project closely aligns with CIRIA’s civil infrastructure theme and ongoing work in understanding future challenges and building industry best practice.

You can find further information under this theme on our dedicated civil infrastructure webpage.

CIRIA, will be working with researchers leading iSMART to broker new collaborations and enable the resulting cutting edge research to be taken up by industry, including the Geotechnical Asset Owners Forum (GAOF), for which CIRIA provides secretariat.

The next meeting of GAOF is being held on 6th March at which iSMART will be discussed as the first step in engaging members in the project.