Taking up the post as ICE's very first academic in residence last week, Professor Guymer will work with ICE members and industry leaders to identify new areas where civil engineers can offer contributions to the major global challenges. He will draw on his experience as joint lead of University of Warwick's Sustainable Cities Global Research Priority team to engage across the boundaries with other disciplines such as social sciences, economics, planning and computer sciences.
Launched in 2013, ICE's 'Shaping the World' initiative brings together the greatest civil engineering minds to address the major infrastructure challenges of our time. Professor Guymer's work will focus on projects that trail blaze new civil engineering interventions and work in partnership with others to pilot new ideas. The Ove Arup Foundation and the Gatsby Foundation, established by David Sainsbury, have helped to fund the post.
Harnessing the knowledge of ICE's 88,000-strong membership, Professor Guymer's insight will help catalyse the initiative's future programme of work, which will inform ICE's thought leadership in priority areas such as resilience and innovation.
He is also the engineering co-Investigator, on an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Centre for Doctoral Training. The Centre, focused on 'Urban Science and Progress advocates an interdisciplinary approach, using 'big data' to tackle urban challenges and aims to establish urban science as a field of study.
Commenting on his appointment, Professor Guymer said he was honoured to be working with ICE:
"It is an honour to be working with ICE to help enhance the impact of our essential global infrastructure. Civil engineering is the vehicle of civilisations, but is stalling at a critical time in history. While the technology and healthcare sectors have leapt forward into the future – innovating and experimenting – civil engineering has struggled to accelerate its pace of change.
"Humanity is entering an age where machines can think for themselves and cities grow beyond the tens of millions. Climate change and technological innovations are disrupting construction activities around the world – presenting new challenges for civil engineers. To catalyse changes and advancements in the sector, the Shaping the World programme identifies and supports great ideas, nursing them to fruition."
ICE Director General, Nick Baveystock, said: "As industry thought leaders, ICE's members and partners can help turn knowledge into action by developing solutions to the complex problems we face. In keeping with ICE's heritage of fostering best practice in civil engineering, projects supported by the Shaping the World Appeal should demonstrate a rigorous and evidence based approach. Professor Guymer will advise the Appeal's Programme Development Group on what projects to take forward for the campaign."