Global sustainable development consultancy, Arup, and Newcastle University have renewed and strengthened their strategic relationship. The collaborative relationship between the two organisations will focus on research and innovation aligned with their respective strategies, fostering knowledge exchange in education, training, and development.

A new and refreshed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 12 December 2023, solidified the commitment to future collaborative projects in research, educational programmes, and commercial activities.

The decision to renew the partnership follows a sandpit event held at Newcastle University earlier in the year, where eleven Arup Directors and sixteen Newcastle University research staff members engaged in discussions and presentations. The event identified mutual beneficial interests in transitioning to Net Zero, shaping resilient systems, enabling restorative and regenerative design, creating inclusive places and communities, and delivering nature-positive outcomes.

Newcastle University is one of only three Higher Education Institutions selected to partner with Arup in the UK, alongside Manchester University and Leeds University. The long-standing collaboration between Arup and Newcastle University has produced impactful projects in global water security, the assessment, costing, and enhancement of lifelong linear assets, and monitoring capabilities for geohazards.

As part of their longstanding collaboration, Newcastle University and Arup have been instrumental in addressing pressing global challenges through their involvement in various initiatives and partnerships. Notably, Newcastle University has played a pivotal role in advancing water security and sustainable development through its Water Security & Sustainable Development Hub. This hub has been a key player in research and solutions related to water security, aligning with their shared goals.

Arup’s commitment to excellence in project assessment and enhancement is underscored by their involvement with Achilles Grant. This collaboration signifies a shared dedication to ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of projects, ultimately contributing to sustainable development goals.

Additionally, recent research activities related to geohazards have been a focal point for both organisations. The exploration of geohazard monitoring capabilities through the HERCULES project, was a collective effort to understand and mitigate the impact of geological events. This aligns with their shared commitment to resilience and safety, echoing the themes of the upcoming Memorandum of Understanding renewal.

While the partnership has thrived on research excellence in areas such as Nature-Based Solutions and Water Management, Arup has identified new academic areas for exploration as part of the partnership with Newcastle University. These include Innovative Materials, Low Carbon, Big Data in the Urban Environment, Modelling Cities, Offshore Design, Robotics, Advanced Technology (AI, Augmented Reality, Sensors), Agri Tech, Geothermal, Heat Networks, Deep Geology, Rock Mechanics, Soil Carbon Cycle, Geospatial and Energy.  As the collaboration between Arup and Newcastle University evolves, these initiatives and partnerships demonstrate their shared dedication to addressing global challenges and ongoing commitment to research, education, and sustainable development.

The renewed MoU will serve as a strategic framework for NU and Arup to explore:

  • Developing relationships and business collaborations
  • Newcastle University becoming a global partner for Arup in other countries
  • Opportunities for staff through two-way secondments and mutual career development
  • Student development and skills enhancement
  • Future research programmes

The MoU document was signed by Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Prov Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Science Agriculture and Engineering, Newcastle University and Andy Mace: Director, Arup outlining commitments to the partnership.

Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Pro Vice Chancellor, Newcastle University said:

“I am delighted to be re-affirming our long-standing and fruitful relationship with Arup and look forward to its expansion into new and exciting areas of mutual interest.  I am keen to see all the positives achieved by this collaboration.”

Andy Mace: Director, Arup added:

“Headlines from COP28 underline the complexity of the climate issues we all face and the challenges in resolving them. Arup and Newcastle University are organisations with global reach and impact, and the need for inter-disciplinary and cross-sector working to provide appropriate solutions at scale and pace has never been greater. Our best, impactful work addressing sustainability challenges, comes from passionate people working together. We are delighted to renew the Memorandum of Understanding and our commitment to further developing collaborative interests in transitioning to Net Zero.”

Following the signing event, Newcastle University and Arup plan to reconvene in the New Year to establish a detailed plan of action.