Ioanna Papanikolau gave an interview to the Horizon Magazine (The EU Research and Innovation Magazine).
“For me, engineering has always been about improving people’s lives. I think should be really the fundamental objective of every engineer, every person that works in the industry.
I’m doing my PhD at the University of Cambridge (UK) where I’m looking into advanced materials for infrastructure. My research is focused on self-sensing and self-healing materials. This means that if your building has cracks it could automatically diagnose its condition. I also work for a UK engineering company called Costain as innovations manager and in smart infrastructure.
More and more people are moving to cities. Challenges extend from the fact that people expect more from their infrastructure whilst governments don’t have any more money to spend. I think the solutions can only really come from technology. It is the most efficient way to run on-time (transport) services, to secure the energy supply, to decarbonise the grid.
I think it is possible to achieve zero emissions. I think it also has a lot to do with the mindset of people that it now starts to change – in how people act and behave. Technology will be able to capture some of these emissions and make the whole planet carbon neutral.
In engineering and infrastructure, we were very slow in the past but now we are learning from other industries like aviation about how to adopt digital technology. In the last five years I’ve seen loads of new innovations. For example, (at Costain) we are using so many technologies to track all the high value assets, (to) track people to understand safety, health and wellbeing.
By 2050, I expect everyone to have an autonomous vehicle that’s fully connected. I expect artificial intelligence to make my life easier in my day-to-day job. I think most of these technologies will be accelerated and fully implemented in (how we work, move and live in) our day-to-day lives.”
Watched the video on Twitter