New collaboration to accelerate digital integration into infrastructure and urban systems research

New collaboration to accelerate digital integration into infrastructure and urban systems research
UKCRIC Communications, Marketing and Events Manager (UCL)
24 April 2023

The Digital Task Force for Planning and the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to research, develop and apply cutting edge digital research and technology for mainstream spatial planning practice and education, leading to transformative changes for public benefit.

The MOU came into effect on Monday the 24th of April and was signed at the University of Birmingham, home to the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF), which is part of UKCRIC.

The partnership will focus on the following areas of joint activity:

  • Collaborating on national and international research and practical projects
  • Sharing research resource and facilities
  • Collaborating on the development of training programmes, events, conferences, awards and case studies to promote multidisciplinary and systemic thinking
  • Promoting each Party’s key activities and research findings to their networks through events, newsletters and social channels

Professor Chris Rogers, University of Birmingham, who is on the Board of Directors of the Digital Task Force for Planning and is UKCRIC’s Director of Research Integration, commented,

“UKCRIC is delighted to be partnering with The Digital Task Force for Planning and the MOU provides a strong foundation and direction with which to collaborate on research projects that aim to deliver a sea change in the adoption and integration of emerging digital technologies with infrastructure and urban systems advancements”.

Dr Wei Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of the Digital Task Force for Planning, added, 

"The Task Force is delighted to join forces with UKCRIC in our journey to reinvigorate the planning profession - creating a reimagined planning profession that can coordinate the best knowledge and advance the most appropriate digital tools and technologies from related disciplines, so that we can achieve a shared vision and create a better future for everyone."

Dr Joanne Leach, Executive Manager, UKCRIC, said,

“It is a privilege to be partnering with the Digital Task Force for Planning. Collaborative, whole systems approaches underpin both our initiatives and are fundamental to tackling so many of the challenges currently being faced in the UK.”

About the Digital Task Force for Planning 

The Digital Task Force for Planning is an innovation-led social enterprise (not-for-profit organisation) devoted to digital planning, with the ambition to promote digital integration and advancement in Spatial Planning to tackle the grand challenges of the 21st Century. It focuses on the Development part of R&D, and acts as a convenor, facilitator and enabler of digitalisation in mainstream planning practice and education to support the establishment of an integrated ecosystem for spatial planning innovation.

The Task Force was initially set up as an independent expert panel by Professor Michael Batty and Dr Wei Yang in 2021. The Task Force’s report, A Digital Future for Planning – Spatial Planning Reimagined (Batty & Yang, 2022) provides a blueprint for a digitally enabled spatial planning. The Task Force was incorporated as a not-for-profit organisation in Oct 2022.


UKCRIC is a collaborative national network of leading UK universities with research and development facilities including engineering laboratories; urban observatories; and data analytics, simulation and visualisation capabilities. Through its work with industry, academia, government and end users, UKCRIC is de-risking investments, providing world-leading research facilities and knowledge to trial design options, and is helping to prioritise and provide evidence, analysis and innovation for future infrastructure and urban investments.

For media enquiries, please contact Tim Yates at for UKCRIC; Wei Yang at for the Digital Task Force for Planning.