Building public infrastructure capacity for Canadian communities
The Phelps Centre for the Study of Government and Business and the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science recently received funding of $496,500 over 3 years for a project titled "Building Public Infrastructure Capacity for Canadian Communities" from Infrastructure Canada.
This Project involves the creation of a University of British Columbia entity for the purpose of producing and transferring knowledge and experiences of Public-Private Partnerships, in particular as a vehicle for meeting Canada's growing infrastructure needs. The UBC P3 Project is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project aimed at building expertise, generating and supporting research and disseminating knowledge regarding Public-Private Partnerships and infrastructure development.
The project will be executed jointly between the Phelps Centre for the Study of Government and Business in the Sauder School of Business and the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of British Columbia with support from the consulting firm P3 Advisors, of Ottawa. The project will be delivered over a three-year period and will be implemented via three main programs: Education, Outreach and Research.
The Educational Program will involve augmenting existing courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both the Sauder School and Civil Engineering, as well as the development of specialized executive courses.
The Outreach Program will ensure broader awareness of the project, providing opportunities for knowledge transfer and information exchange. The program involves the delivery of academic seminars and practitioner workshops, a working paper series highlighting findings of recent research openly accessible online, and an annual symposium to bring together key government decision makers along with P3 experts from the consulting and research communities.
The Research Program will involve two interconnected research streams. The first is an academic stream focused on in-depth, academic research. Its products, aimed at peer-reviewed journals, will be supported through small grants and the financial support of graduate students. This work will largely be produced by academic team members working with their graduate students. A second, more applied, case-study oriented, stream will be led by non-academic team members with considerable experience advising on P3 projects across Canada.
The overall objectives of the project are as follows:
- Foster an understanding of Public-Private Partnerships as a means of meeting the infrastructure needs of Canadians;
- Increase and improve the level of awareness and understanding about Public-Private Partnerships and how they can play a role in public infrastructure provision in communities across Canada;
- Encourage the development and maintenance of multi-disciplinary research in infrastructure development and Public-Private Partnerships;
- Foster a stronger exchange of information and knowledge of Public-Private Partnerships amongst policy makers, experts, practitioners, communities, non-governmental organizations, industry and the general public;
- Create greater capacity for governments to meet their public infrastructure needs by generating an understanding of P3s and introducing options for innovative and viable financing and procurement practices;
- Create a team of scholars specializing and researching P3s and solutions to public infrastructure delivery from across UBC and, eventually, across the country; and
- Create a specialized and unique research and knowledge dissemination program at a leading Canadian university aimed at educating and fostering an interest in the provision public infrastructure.