A new interdisciplinary research centre focused on the dynamics of socio-economic and environmental processes, at various spatial scales, was announced today at University College Dublin (UCD).

The objective of the newly established UCD Spatial Dynamics Lab, within the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, is to provide advancements in the analysis of innovation processes, environmental impact, evolutionary patterns and structural change at a city and regional scale.

The Centre has been established by Dr Dieter F. Kogler and Dr Francesco Pilla who are respectively leading two large-scale European Commission funded projects.

Dr Kogler is a European Research Council (ERC) Starter Grant Holder, whose 5-year, €1.5 million funded research project is entitled Technology Evolution in Regional Economies (TechEvo). The objective of TechEvo is to produce a series of economic indicators, models and tools which will enable firms and policymakers, across Europe, to make more informed and better location-based investment decisions to boost innovation and drive regional prosperity.

Dr Pilla is the coordinator and principal investigator of a 3-year, €5.8 million Horizon 2020 funded research project entitled Improving the Smart Control of Air Pollution in Europe (iSCAPE). The overall objective of iSCAPE is to develop an integrated strategy for air pollution control in European cities, grounded on evidence-based analysis, by leveraging passive control systems, (i.e. the introduction in urban spaces of trees, hedges, green walls to assist with air pollution dispersion), policy interventions and behavioural changes of citizens’ lifestyles.

Dr Dieter F. Kogler said, “The cross-fertilisation of ideas derived from different, but complementary scientific backgrounds hold the potential for ‘real’ break-through discoveries and entirely new research avenues. In this regard, the long-term goal of the UCD Spatial Dynamics Lab is to establish itself as an internationally renowned hub of scientific expertise specialising in the visualisation and analysis of socio-economic and environmental spatial data.”

Dr Francesco Pilla said, “The UCD Spatial Dynamics Lab aims to serve as a showcase for expertise that will assist researchers, practitioners, industry partners and policy makers in building and maintaining strong strategic partnerships.”

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “I would like to congratulate Dr Kogler and Dr Pilla on the establishment of the UCD Spatial Dynamics Lab. Global challenges require ideas and expertise from a range of disciplines, and the areas in which we at UCD seek to deliver impact are not arranged exclusively within traditional disciplinary boundaries. The work of the interdisciplinary team at the UCD Spatial Dynamics Lab on socio-economic, environmental and sustainable development issues has the potential to deliver economic and social impact both within Ireland and globally.”

Emeritus Professor John Goddard OBE, Newcastle University, who founded and led the University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) from 1977 to 1998 was the guest speaker at the launch event.

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