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The University of Nottingham’s Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre is collaborating with a subsidiary of China Railway Group, the biggest construction company in Asia, on a joint project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The project, known as GNSS and Earth Observation for Structural Health of Monitoring of Bridges (GeoSHM), uses advanced satellite navigation and positioning technology to generate real-time measurements of bridge movement and to understand how different environmental and industrial factors can affect bridge stability over time.

The subsidiary, China Railway Major Bridge Reconnaissance and Design Institute (BRDI) will assist in promoting GeoSHM services in China, the world’s biggest market for the technology.

Long-term Partnership

The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Greenaway, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BRDI ‘s General Manager Mr Zhang Min. The MoU aims to establish a long-term partnership between the two organisation and widen the links with The University of Nottingham in both Ningbo and in the UK.

As a result of the agreement, a series of investments will pave the way for further commercialisation of GeoSHM technology, in order to explore the £10 billion global market of satellite-based monitoring of large infrastructure.

For solving the pressing issues that face China’s large bridges, the MoU will see a direct investment of €600,000 from BRDI to support the second phase of the €2.3m European Space Agency-sponsored project. Initial work with BRDI and other UK-China companies is expected to lead to the establishment of a high-tech company with Nottingham.

Bridge Building

Mr Tian Daoming, President of BRDI, is excited at the prospect of further collaboration with the University: “China has a long history of bridge construction which dates back thousands of years and we have built a great number of novel, large and complex structured bridges in the past few decades. Collaborating with the University of Nottingham using geospatial technology will help with the great rejuvenation of the Chinese Bridge construction.”

Dr. Xiaolin Meng, Director of the Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre, welcomes the further investment from BRDI, he said: “I am really looking forward to working with BRDI on this project. By collaborating with them and providing our expertise in earth observation and monitoring technologies, we can help to improve the way that bridges are constructed, in future.

“The wide-reaching range of geospatial data that we are able to provide through our research work also has massive potential in helping to develop smart transport management solutions within the big cities in the UK and China.”

For more information about The University of Nottingham’s work with businesses, visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/servicesforbusiness