Chris Rogers spent three years in the civil engineering industry before returning to academia to research pipeline soil-structure interaction. He lectured at Nottingham and Loughborough Universities before taking up his current position at the University of Birmingham in 1998. His research portfolio is dominated by two primary, necessarily interrelated, themes of infrastructure engineering and urban sustainability, resilience and liveability.
Building on prior research into trenchless technology, buried pipes, soil stabilization and road foundations, since 2004 he has led the multi-university EPSRC Mapping the Underworld (MTU) research initiative. MTU addressed the complex challenge of locating and mapping pipelines and cables buried beneath the streets, and extended into the use of shallow-surface geophysics to assess the condition of road structures, buried pipelines and cables, and the ground that supports them both (Assessing the Underworld). His buried infrastructure research is now exploring the application of robotics for roads and green infrastructure monitoring and repair (via the Self-Repairing Cities Grand Challenges Grant) and buried pipeline condition assessment using swarms of miniature robots (via Pipebots, or Pervasive Sensing of Buried Pipes, Programme Grant). In iBUILD, he worked with engineers and economists to explore alternative business models emerging from considerations of infrastructure interdependencies.
With a focus on underground space use and utility service provision to future cities more generally, he led the multi-disciplinary Urban Futures consortium (part of EPSRC’s Sustainable Urban Environments programme) and led the Liveable Cities Programme Grant, both exploring the performance of future cities in relation to citizen and planetary wellbeing, while Urban Living Birmingham focussed on urban diagnostics. Since 2016, Chris has been the Director of Research Integration for the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), a national, open, shared resource that provides state-of-the-art, research facilities to deliver world-leading infrastructure research.
He is the Director of the National Buried Infrastructure Facility, a £27.6m facility soon to be completed at the University of Birmingham, and leads UKCRIC-PLEXUS, a pump-priming grant that links the eleven UKCRIC Laboratory Facilities. The PLEXUS vision is to establish the new collaboration and practice frameworks needed for long-term, successful, collaborative UKCRIC lab environments, and to offer the prospect of some quick-win outcomes. He was the academic lead of the University of Birmingham Policy Commission on Future Urban Living and a member of the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government Foresight Future of Cities project, and he chairs the Institution of Civil Engineers Research, Development & Innovation towards Engineering Excellence Panel.