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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

A system-of-systems approach for national infrastructure planning: Integrating governance and modelling for infrastructure systems in Saint Lucia

Infrastructure sectors have been traditionally planned and implemented in isolation. Moreover, our long experience in planning infrastructure using the predict-then-act approach prevents an exploration of the uncertain future. Therefore, the need for a long-term and cross-sectoral approach has been recognised by academics, governments and international agencies worldwide.

With this goal, the ITRC Mistral programme has developed pioneering research for the UK National Infrastructure System-of-Systems through its NISMOD tool. While these socio-technical innovations have recently been applied internationally, infrastructure failure in developing contexts are mainly caused by governance issues, which are not currently taken into account in the NISMOD process.

Within this context, this study is the first attempt to integrate governance understanding and cross-sectoral infrastructure modelling. Through the application of a simplified NISMOD tool to the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, this study has been able to produce a National Infrastructure Plan informed by governance assessments. In doing so, this has shown the value and feasibility of such integration.

Furthermore, the simplified tool has allowed the exploration of a range of scenarios that evidence the need for adaptive management according to how the future unfolds. Additionally, the applicability of NISMOD to developing countries is illustrated, while challenges and areas for further research are highlighted.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.