Group Update as of October 1, 2014

Well, it has been quite a while since last blogging. After a cool summer and a hectic September, it is the right time to briefly summarize what the RILCIE research group was doing.

First thing first, Dr. Arnold Yuan was appointed in May to be the founding Director of Ryerson Institute for Infrastructure Innovation, or RIII (r-triple-eye). The position officially started on July 1st, and it is a three-year term. Immediately he found himself much busier than before, consulting deans and colleagues, attending meetings and training workshops, making and receiving calls, and more recently receiving a couple of interviews. Consuming him a lot of time, this job turned out to be very exciting and challenging too.

RIII is a Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science (FEAS)-based research institute striving to provide a holistic solution to urban infrastructure issues. RIII promotes interdisciplinary, applied research on infrastructure-related issues, both hard (engineering and technology) and soft (management and policy). RIII seeks collaboration with industry, public agencies and municipalities. The first research project has been awarded and sponsored by PPP Canada, a Crown-owned company overseeing federal funds for public-private partnership infrastructure projects. We are developing a website for RIII. I hope we shall release it to the public very soon.

In June Arnold did something he had never thought he would do — he served as a Bedel for the June Convocation! If you do not know what a Bedel is, you are definitely not alone. Arnold agreed to do this service because he did not know what the full responsibility would be when he was asked to do so. Life is full of uncertainty, as Arnold always says. Arnold is not only a risk guy, but also a risky guy!

If you want to check his performance in the convocation, click here and drag the progress bar to 47:55. Ideally the innovation should run exactly one minute — Arnold practiced at home for a couple of hours and figured this out. On stage, he ran a little faster, but it sounds okay.

In September Arnold also attended two external events, both related to infrastructure. On September 4 he attended the OCSI Infrastructure Forum. OCSI stands for Ontario Coalition of Sustainable Infrastructure. The forum set up roundtable discussions about two fundamental issues: What is sustainable funding for infrastructure? And what is affordable level of service?  In the end the group identified a number of burning issues to address the public infrastructure issues. On the top of the list were:

  • The public’s appreciation of infrastructure crisis
  • Comprehensive planning tools
  • Clear and transparent decision making criteria
  • Governments’ zero tolerance on innovation

From September 16 to 17 Arnold attended the 8th Infrastructure Summit on the Future of Canada’s Infrastructure. As one of the two chairs of the Summit, Arnold made an opening speech for the second day in the early morning. He first did a little pitch on the need for research and innovation and then introduced Ryerson’s efforts under RIII.

Back to school, RILCIE group welcomed two new members: Jing (Aviva) Zhang, PhD program; and Md. Abdus Salam, MEng program. A group meeting was held on September 22. Each of the graduate students made a presentation on their research projects.

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