The purpose of the IAPP call is to enhance industry-academia collaboration through an objective-driven transfer of knowledge (ToK) programme between industry and academia. BRIDGE-SMS will couple state-of-the art scientific knowledge in hydrology and river engineering with industrial knowledge in infrastructure asset management and web-based bridge management systems to develop an open source cloud-based intelligent decision support system for the assessment and management of the hydraulic vulnerability of bridges over water. This will be achieved through the secondment of staff and promotion of knowledge and skills transfer between experts (Table 2.1) in the fields of hydrology and river engineering from internationally renowned experts in University College Cork and the University of Zagreb; ARCTIS, a Croatian software company who are recognised experts in IT Systems. ARCTIS will develop a bridge-monitoring software application to enable transportation professionals to proactively monitor, in real-time, their valuable infrastructure to prevent and protect against hazardous conditions for private, public, and commercial transportation.
As the synthesis of the combined knowledge from the involved partners can only be achieved through the direct transfers of knowledge, the intersectoral secondments lie at the heart of this project. Efficient knowledge transfer is a continuous aspect of employment, so one of the aims of staff exchange was to maximise the number of long-term secondments. The other aim was to maximise the number of trainers at the host organisation, as it is optimal to cross-train in order to ensure that the knowledge of a particular area is spread among multiple people.
One of the expected results of cooperation is establishment of a new joint-venture SME that would commercialise the new product on the European market and eventually create new jobs. The main commercial opportunity for the partners relates to the installation, customizing, commissioning and maintenance of the BRIDGE-SMS. In order to develop an intelligent system which will facilitate inspections, data collection, data processing and analysis, and DSS, the knowledge and experience on bridge scour residing in the individual organisations must be shared with the other partners and transferred specifically to the architects of the intelligent system. To be able to design and implement software solutions, the software designers depend heavily on academia knowledge and other parties in the project. In order to develop a novel system the transfer of a range of information and experiences between several project partners can only be achieved through direct contact and face-to-face interaction between individuals. The transfer of bridge scour knowledge between industry, academia and software developer is essential for a successful system development, and a key mechanism to achieve this is the secondment programme of staff between companies and research centres.