Sustainable
Infrastructure
Research Hub

sirh@uq.edu.au

Decarbonisation and circular economy

Infrastructure is critical to social well-being and provides an interface between people and the natural environment. As one of the largest resource consumers, the opportunity to realise progress at scale towards net zero emissions, natural capital ambitions and a transition to a circular economy is clear. The scale of materials use leaves the industry highly vulnerable to supply disruption meaning new approaches need to be carefully researched, conceptualised, and tested. This research theme will support efforts by industry and government to transition the infrastructure industry to thrive in a decarbonised and circular economy as well as provide insight on the role infrastructure plays in supporting the economy more broadly to transition.

Current projects


Procurement models for circular economy in infrastructure (2021-2022)

This project investigates different infrastructure project procurement models and their influence on circular economy outcomes across the project lifecycle. Leveraging circular economy outcomes will assist the industry to manage resource scarcity, increasing waste costs and growing requirements to improve sustainability of projects.

Project staff

Dr Jurij Karlovsek
Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and IT
EAIT Lead, Infrastructure CoLab

Dr Cristyn Meath
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab

Mr Lawrence Miles-Mwangangi
Senior Research Assistant
Infrastructure Procurement and Risk


How Industry 4.0 enables circular economy in infrastructure: a systematic literature review (2021-2022)

Industry 4.0 technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Machine Learning, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are considered key enablers of the transition to circular economy principles (Kristoffersen, 2020). Through a rigorous screening and review process of the existing literature, the evidence base for how Industry 4.0 enables circular economy in infrastructure is summarised. Opportunities, challenges, and implications identified in the literature are outlined. A toolkit for implementing Industry 4.0 technologies to support circular economy in infrastructure is also provided to best utilise the current academic evidence on opportunities, barriers and enablers.  

Project staff

Dr Jurij Karlovsek
Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and IT
EAIT Lead, Infrastructure CoLab

Dr Cristyn Meath
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab

Mr Gabriel Sunol Marten
Senior Research Assistant
Smart Infrastructure


ARC Research Hub to Advance Timber for Australia’s Future Built Environment (2022-2027)

This project aims to transform Australia’s timber and construction sectors by stimulating rapid growth in timber innovation and uptake of use of timber in buildings. It plans to enable this transformation by addressing the diverse elements required to motivate investment, stimulate innovation, satisfy stakeholder demands, define long-term social-environmental-economic benefits and establish a roadmap for change. The expected outcomes will kickstart the change process, supported by growth in advanced manufacturing across the value chain. This should provide significant benefits in stimulating an opportunity for regional development and resource diversification whilst helping the sectors transition to a circular and net-zero economy.

Within this project the SIRH will lead Node 8 (Designing change) and also support Node 5 (Socio-economic opportunity).

Project staff

Dr Cristyn Meath
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab


Sustainable healthcare infrastructure: aligning design to operational performance (2022-2023)

Sustainable hospital designs should aim to produce facilities that care for both patients and planet, and utilise the transition to sustainable healthcare systems to deliver not only environmentally sustainable buildings but ones which further promote health and healing.  The aim of this project is to identify which aspects of evidence-based design and sustainable design principles overlap to align sustainable hospital infrastructure with better service delivery, staff satisfaction and patient outcomes.

Project staff

Dr Cristyn Meath
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer
Co-founder and Lead, Infrastructure CoLab

Ms Julia Read
Senior Research Assistant
Health Infrastructure