Key issues facing the world will be the focus for the new Future Cities Research Institute (FCRI), a joint initiative between Lancaster University and Sunway University in Malaysia.
Lancaster’s Chancellor, the Right Honourable Alan Milburn, and the Chancellor of Sunway, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, launched the FCRI in a ceremony held at Sunway University.
The FCRI will build on existing strengths at the two universities 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.
The high quality of interdisciplinary research produced will be leveraged to examine new areas that will include design for healthy living, people-based infrastructure, night-time urban environments and urban food security.
The FCRI represents a logical ‘next step’ in shaping the agenda for future city development, and in deepening the relationship between Sunway and Lancaster, through its support for broad research themes of Digital Cities, Sustainable Cities and Liveable Cities. One of its core missions is to train and empower PhD students specialising in relevant disciplines.
The FCRI’s PhD programme will be jointly supervised between Lancaster and Sunway staff. There will be an annual summer school organised by rotation between UK and Malaysia and shared workshops on a wide range of development activities including research skills, publishing, public engagement, entrepreneurship, innovation, problem solving, and project management.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Milburn, a former UK Secretary of State for Health, said: “The joint Sunway-Lancaster Future Cities Research Institute will address some of the key issues facing the world this century.
“In the process, I hope it will help forge an even stronger bond between our two great institutions.
“We at Lancaster are immensely proud of the partnership. We are delighted at the progress that it has made and we believe that in the new Institute, we will have a powerful vehicle for taking the partnership forward to the next level.”
Tan Sri Dr Cheah, also the Founding Chairman of the Sunway Group, Malaysia’s leading urban community master planner, said: “Our efforts at Sunway are driven by our recognition that realising the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all, are not the sole responsibility of Governments. It requires the commitment of many areas — the private sector, academia, civil society, and, of course, every single individual. We are all in this together.”
At the launch, Professor Dame Sue Black, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University, spoke about ‘Tackling the Challenges of Cities of the Future’.
Professor Mohamed Kheireddine Aroua, Associate Dean (Research) and Head, Research Centre for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Utilisation, School of Science and Technology at Sunway University, spoke about: ‘Membrane Technology for Safe and Sustainable Drinking Water Supply in Smart Cities’.
Watch a film about the initiative here: https://lancaster.box.com/s/hokgx0zdfs6wtz523r6bc5xqmmjqr1nu
Watch footage from the launch event here: https://lancaster.box.com/s/883k6t2nu0n1e5mzbu0s84yooigw7n41