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An innovative program called TRUSS aims to protect Europe’s infrastructure for decades to come

Thursday, 28 February, 2019

TRUSS is a Marie-Sklodowska Innovative Training Network coordinated by (opens in a new window)Arturo Gonzalez (UCD School of Civil Engineering) and sponsored by the European Commission, that aims to protect Europe’s infrastructure. European infrastructure is ageing. Decades of use, population growth, and changing environmental conditions are taking their toll. Managing this deterioration is tricky because it’s not always clear how to best identify and repair structural flaws early – before they cause safety issues or require a major financial investment to fix. This innovative new training program aims to help solve this issue.

The broad goal of the program is to ensure that Europe’s buildings, roads, railways, ships, and energy plants continue to serve the population safely for decades to come. The program fosters a unique pairing of academic training and industrial application, with a bit of public outreach thrown in. The participants include fourteen
early-stage researchers, also called ESRs, who are recruited from all over the world. Each participant is expected to complete structured training, perform novel research, and publicly disseminate their work. For their efforts, the ESRs will receive doctoral degrees following a successful VIVA defence of their research – not to mention an excellent head start on a productive career in infrastructure preservation.

The highly collaborative, multidisciplinary training network consisted of six universities, eleven industry participants, and one research institute from five European countries. Each ESR was assigned a main supervisor from one institution and sector (academic or industrial) and a co-supervisor from another. Aside from hands-on experience at the main hosting institution, training consisted of secondments at other institutions within the TRUSS network. The ESRs also participated in network-wide meetings every 6 months that included intensive, highly-focused modules on different topics related to the assessment of structural safety as well as on business and entrepreneurial skills. At these meetings, the ESRs also gave seminars on the state of their research projects. This setup gave ESRs exposure to different sectors, access to a wide range of subject-matter experts, and a chance to work on communication skills.

Read more: (opens in a new window)http://trussitn.eu

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