Opportunities and network announced at Future Cities Research Institute Event

Last week, the University hosted its first ‘Future Cities Research Institute’ (FCRI) workshop, attended by Lancaster researchers and professional services staff. Attendees were actively encouraged to get involved in the research institute, which is a joint collaboration between Lancaster University and Sunway University in Malaysia that will connect researchers to explore problems and solutions arising from rapid global urbanisation, with initial focus on digital, sustainable and liveable cities themes.

The Interim Director of FCRI, Professor Kirk Semple, said: “The FCRI was launched in August last year and seeks to address one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: ‘to create sustainable cities and communities’. The aim of this workshop is to encourage the group to explore possible opportunities and challenges for the cities of the future, whether they reside in high or low income countries. The research will cover all manner of issues; for example, from resilience to climate change to energy storage to food supply chains and infrastructure.” The FCRI will build on existing strengths at Lancaster and Sunway and a successful track record of collaboration stretching back to 2006. It will develop an innovative and agile portfolio of research, responding to the challenges facing urban environments, and will offer critical step-changes relevant to their context.

While the FCRI primarily connects Lancaster and Kuala Lumpur, Professor Nick Dunn and Professor Harry Hoster (‘Digital Cities’ Theme Leads), explored a range of possible sustainable living alternatives from all over the world, as well as close to home. To illustrate this, Professor Hoster presented data on Lancaster University’s own energy output and pushed the audience to consider the nuances of their own landscape.

After an introduction to FCRI, the room split into two groups based on the individual’s interest in either ‘sustainable’ or ‘digital’ cities. This arrangement provided fertile ground for discussion and it soon became clear that there was much excitement and energy around this newly launched research institute.

Beyond a 5-year joint strategy, there is support available via Global Challenge Research Funding (GCRF) internal seed corn funding of up to £5,000 for new GCRF related projects and up to £10,000 to expand the potential of existing GCRF related projects or activities. The deadline for internal applications is 10th February and information on how to apply is available by contacting Mandy Dillon.

Future FCRI events include Sunway colleagues visiting Lancaster (9th – 13th March), and another workshop based in the Confucius Institute on campus in which Lancaster academics and their Sunway colleagues will further develop their five-year plan in June. 

To join the informal FCRI network and keep informed about upcoming events, associated funding opportunities and access the speakers’ slides, Lancaster University staff can join the Microsoft Teams group here.

Find out more about how Lancaster and Sunway are tackling the challenges of future cities together here.

Watch the FCRI launch video here.

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