1. General Objectives 

The project aims to meet the immediate needs of the Canadian Society by forming a team of experts for the maintenance and rehabilitation of concrete structure. The proposed training program makes it different by its multidisciplinary nature and is based on an integrated approach to concrete infrastructure management articulated around the development of innovative solutions. Students and postdoctoral fellows participating in the program will have the opportunity to become familiar with all aspects of the domain by working on all issues related to assessing and monitoring the structure conditions and their reliability, as well as troubles related to data processing, risk and performance management. 

The project was initially developed to maximize the contribution of specialists from different fields to improve the management of concrete infrastructure. Students are supervised by a team of established university researchers who are internationally recognized for their expertise in structural engineering, materials science, risk management and cost analysis. The program also will benefit from the strong cohesion between the research group to their numerous industrial and government partners. 

 2. Program Origin

Canada faces a growing and significant deterioration of its public infrastructure. This affects a wide range of structure among which bridges and overpasses are particularly affected. In this context, issues related to the behavior of concrete are strategic for the Canadian society. Indeed, whatever their nature, infrastructure suffer from degradation involve for the most part, elements of reinforced concrete. This is not surprising if one considers that concrete is probably the most used manmade material in the world. 

To ensure that Canada develops highly qualified personnel to perform the maintenance and rehabilitation of structures, a grant application for a training program has been made to NSERC and approved. 

3. Activities Related to the Management of Concrete Infrastructures

     

  • The durability of concrete materials;
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  • Auscultation and monitoring of structures;
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  • The safety assessment of structures;
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  • Data analysis and performance evaluation of structures.
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4. Targeted People

     

  • Master degree students;
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  • Doctorate students;
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  • Postdoctoral Fellows.
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5. Program Activities

The program focuses on three specific components: 

     

  • An integration of academic training activities; 
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  • A varied training experience in research through internships abroad;
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  • Participation in networking and technology transfer activities.
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5.1 An Integration of Academic Training Activities

Initially, participating students and postdoctoral fellows have access to academic supervision by top North American experts in the field of the management of concrete infrastructure. The research group behind this grant first will develop a broader unique course program that will not only optimize available resources among the various academic institutions participating in the program, but will also will provide a highly multidisciplinary training for students at the forefront of knowledge in the field of management of concrete infrastructures. The course curriculum which is been developed, will reach all aspects of the management of concrete infrastructure. 

     

  • A first course will focus specifically on issues related to the design of reinforced concrete structures and pre-stressed concrete;
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  • Another course will be devoted entirely to the durability of concrete structures. This course will allow, among other things, students become familiar with the fundamentals of materials science;
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  • A third course will be established to address issues affecting the inspection, auscultation and monitoring the health of concrete structures. An important part of the course will focus on the latest technological developments in the field;
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  • A fourth course will be entirely devoted to assessing the load capacity of structures and rehabilitation of concrete structures;
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  • Finally, a last course will be established to train students and trainees in disciplines related to data processing and performance evaluation of structures. Issues related to cost analysis are also addressed in this course.
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In addition, each year internationally renowned researchers will be invited. Agreements will be signed with other networks of researchers to take maximum advantage of new information technologies. Thus, in collaboration with the Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials in the United States, web-based courses (2nd and 3rd cycle) will be set up. The experts participating in the development of these courses come from the academic sector as well as the government and industry sectors. Additionally, courses will also be accessible to practitioner engineers wishing to improve their knowledge in the field.

5.2 A Rich Training Experience in Research Through External Internships

Within the context of the training program, each student must also complete at least one internship outside their laboratory of origin. Depending the case, the internship will be conducted within: 

     

  • one of five Canadian universities participating in the program; 
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  • one of three foreign research centers associated with the program; 
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  • or with a partner (government or industry) associated with CRIB.
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In this connection, it should be noted that the CRIB research group has close links with many industrial and government partners in the province of Quebec, in Canada and elsewhere in North America. For example, the NSERC Industrial Research Chairs at the Université de Sherbrooke (Gerard Ballivy) and Université Laval (Jacques Marchand) group together more than twenty partners that have been involved for several years in research directly oriented in the management of concrete infrastructure. 

In addition to rely on the infrastructure research provided through collaboration between four research chairs and two renowned research centers, students and fellows participating in the project will benefit from the international influence of the group of researchers. Thus, collaboration agreements have been signed with two of the largest international networks of researchers in the field of infrastructure management in concrete: the Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials in the United States (www.acbm.northwestern.edu - represented by its Director Professor WJ Weiss Purdue University) and the European network Nanocem (www.nanocem.org - represented by its Director Professor Karen Scrivener of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland). The research team also collaborates with the Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussée de Paris in France (www.lcpc.fr - represented by Dr. Christian Cremona) 

5.3 The participation in networking and technology transfer activities

Finally, different actions are taken to enable students and postdoctoral fellows to participate in the program to broaden their professional horizons by participating in exchanges with researchers from all over the world. For example, students and trainees are strongly encouraged to actively participate in technical committees of international organizations like the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures (RILEM) and the International Federation for Structural Concrete (FIB). Researchers involved in this application are deeply involved in both organizations. 

The research team organize an annual summer school on one of four aspects of the management of concrete infrastructure. The summer school is intended for students and specialists of the construction industry. 

The program of the summer school is structured to enable students and postdoctoral fellows to acquire new skills and contribute directly to technology transfer activities. Thus, all students in the training program will be invited to present their research in the context of the summer school. This event is an excellent opportunity for students and postdoctoral fellows to familiarize themselves with the latest developments in research on concrete infrastructure.

6. Member universities

     

  • Université Laval, Department of Civil Engineering 
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  • University of New Brunswick, Department of Physics 
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  • Université de Sherbrooke, Department of Civil Engineering 
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  • McGill University, Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics
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  • Université de Montreal, Department of Economics 
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  • Université Laval,  Finance, Insurance and Real Estate  
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Contact: Nicolas Rouleau, Département de Génie Civil, Université Laval, Pavillon Adrien-Pouliot, 1065 Av. de la Médécine, G1V 0A6 Québec, Ph: (418)-656-2432