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Data literacy should be a priority for 2023, Knowledge Café concludes

25 July 2022

Regional and international members can participate in the online version of the event on 24 August 2022. 

Data literacy should be a priority for 2023, Knowledge Café concludes
Infrastructure resilience was one of the main discussion points at the Knowledge Café.

Data literacy among engineers was determined one of the priorities for the institution in 2023 at the first Knowledge Café event.

Hosted by ICE on one of the hottest days of the year, the event convened members of all infrastructure specialisms to debate the challenges the industry faces.

After discussing the threats and opportunities for the profession, attendees then debated on what ICE might do to respond to these challenges.

Data literacy figured significantly among the challenges discussed, with attendees pointing out that the industry is struggling to fully capitalise on the benefits of digitalisation.

Lack of up-to-date knowledge and skills and of effective implementation processes were cited as obstacles to overcome.

Decarbonisation, productivity and efficiency of the industry, were other priorities debated at the event.

What is the Knowledge Café?

The Knowledge Café is based on how the institution was originally founded in the 19th century – a group of engineers getting together in a coffee house to debate shared challenges, exchange knowledge, and come up with solutions.

The goal of the event was to draw on the collective expertise of the ICE membership and identify some of the priorities for the institution in 2023.

These will be summarised the ICE’s ‘Infrastructure in 2023’ report in December 2022.

The issues raised may be addressed through future research projects, reports, CPD activity, events, or other activity aimed at informing members, industry, and stakeholders.

How were discussions organised?

ICE President Ed McCann introduced the event. He highlighted the need to implement and share existing knowledge.

Specialists were organised into workshop groups for ICE’s 10 core, strategic themes:

  1. decarbonisation
  2. data & digital
  3. engineering fundamentals
  4. flooding
  5. water & sanitation
  6. productivity
  7. sustainable & resilient infrastructure
  8. low carbon energy
  9. structures & geotechnical
  10. transport & mobility

The specialists were challenged to identify and agree on their top priority, then debate what ICE could do in response.

What did they discuss?

Some of the key issues raised during this debate continued to be the efficiency and productivity of the industry. This is the main topic of the 2022 State of the Nation report.

As well as data literacy, other topics included how ICE could influence strategies and policies to better support the low carbon energy resilience of the UK.

Similarly, low-carbon transport policies and education were debated. Participants discussed how the ICE could effectively share technical knowledge with decision makers to support investment in low-carbon transport schemes.

Construction is a carbon-intensive activity. Reducing carbon in design from the use of steel and concrete were key areas where ICE could have an impact.

It’s not always necessary to build, attendees stressed, adding that engineers can retrofit and repurpose.

How can you get involved?

The ICE is keen to ensure that it engages with all parts of its membership and other infrastructure specialists around the world.

Aware that not everyone can make the trip to the ICE HQ in London, the ICE will facilitate opportunities to join discussions virtually wherever possible.

The ICE will be holding an online Knowledge Café event to discuss issues, challenges and ideas from its international and regional members.

Members can participate by registering to attend the ICE Knowledge Café online event which will be held at 9-11am GMT on Wednesday 24 August 2022.

Like at the in-person event, delegates will be grouped according to their interest.

The ICE encourages its regional and international members to attend and help set the institution’s knowledge agenda for the future.

The Knowledge Networks

The ICE continues to invite specialists to join its Knowledge Networks.

Across a variety of subjects, the ICE wants members and infrastructure experts to help develop world-class insight and guidance, addressing key infrastructure challenges facing the profession.

The Knowledge Networks will also support the development of products that build competence and advance thinking on major world issues.

  • Adam Kirkup, engineering communities manager at ICE