A workshop was held to celebrate the launch of the Aston Centre for Critical Infrastructure and Services on Thursday 12th March 2009 at the Aston Business School. A broad range of delegates and keynote speakers attended to examine how policymaking impacts infrastructure industries, in particular in the rail, energy, telecoms and water sectors.
Hosted by Professor Paula Jarzabkowski and Dr Jane Matthiesen, the workshop sought to explore opportunities for cross-industry learning and identify where similar concerns exist in terms of infrastructure development and policy.
Keynote speaker, Paul Golby, Chief Executive of e.on UK, Pro-Chancellor of Aston University and Chair of the University Council, was keen to stress just how important it is to convert policy and aspirational targets into effective action. “The decisions we make now in regard to critical infrastructure services will have an impact 50 years down the line. This is our window of opportunity to get it right for future generations.”
Tony Collins, Virgin Trains CEO, spoke about the role industry plays in formulating policy. “What is needed is a long-term strategic overview of infrastructure development, but this can be difficult to achieve without continuity from the policymaking body.”
The Centre will act as a key forum for the exchange of information and best practice between leading academics, industry leaders and policymakers through encouraging networking to help inform research formulation and process.
Paula Jarzabkowski said, “At ACCIS we aim to do collaborative research that really addresses the critical issues in infrastructure policy and development. This workshop has been excellent for bringing together key industry, government and regulatory stakeholders in order to define the important topics going forward.”