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Vinci Construction - Tapping on University Collaborations

12 July 2016 - Universities act as an important driver of economic development and catching-up through their role in education and technology absorption, adaptation, and diffusion. Collaboration between academia and industry is increasingly a critical component of efficient national innovation systems. The benefits of university-industry linkages are wide-reaching and mutually beneficial.

On one hand, since the 1990s, the strategic mission of universities has moved beyond the tradition of teaching and research toward a different dimension related to better addressing the needs of industry and contributing directly to economic growth and development. On the other hand, private firms are progressively adopting open innovation strategies to better access and integrate external sources of knowledge, leading to a stronger interest in collaboration with universities.
Multinational companies in Malaysia have consistently expanded their global innovation networks, as illustrated by a recent collaboration of University of Malaya (UM) and VINCI Construction.

The Low Cost Model House (LCH) (Research) incorporating Green Technology (GT) is part of the University of Malaya Vice-Chancellor’s vision in promoting community engagement projects. In the project, research outputs from the Centre for Innovative Construction Technology (CICT) were implemented. The initiative aims to help in addressing sustainability and GT issues as well as reducing the cost of construction.

The Centre for Innovative Construction Technology (CICT) in the Faculty of Engineering, UM, has been conducting research on the use of local waste materials for more than 10 years. Among the research findings which have shown great potential include partial and full cement replacements using materials like palm oil fuel ash, palm oil clinker (POC) ash, rice husk ash, and coal bottom ash. In the case of full cement replacement, such materials need to be combined with activators to give binding properties to the concrete. This type of cement-free concrete is commonly termed as ‘geopolymer concrete’. In addition, local waste materials such as POC, oil palm shell and slag were found to be good alternative as coarse and fine aggregates in concrete.

The construction of the Green Low Cost House was a joint collaboration with Vinci, France’s leading construction company and a major global player. As part of a lineage of 100-year-old companies whose names are associated with impressive achievements worldwide, VINCI Construction possesses end-to-end expertise in the creation of complex infrastructure. Throughout the world, VINCI Construction designs and builds major civil engineering structures, and buildings.

VINCI is also a recognised sector leader in R&D. VINCI’s R&D and innovation policy mainly focuses on urban development, sustainable mobility, the energy performance of buildings and infrastructure, and the digital transition. In 2015, the Group was involved in about 50 research programmes and the work of 13 competitiveness clusters in France. 31 new inventions were patented, bringing its worldwide active patent portfolio to 2,256. Consistent with its decentralised style of management, VINCI’s potential for innovation is developed by encouraging its companies and employees to take concrete initiatives at the ground level.

Bridging the skills gap with industry via academia partnership will continue to develop the potential for international technology transfer and diffusion, as well as to bolster the learning and demonstration effect on local universities.

Source: InvestKL

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