The University of Salford is to work with the University of Basra in Iraq to set up a centre for research in the built environment with the aim of providing skills and knowledge as the country seeks to rebuild.
As the UK's leading research centre for built environment, Salford will help the University of Basra to create its own research expertise specifically tailored to the needs of the Iraqi construction sector.
Prof Mustafa Alshawi, the associate dean (international) at Salford's College of Science & Technology, said: "Iraq has some very specific needs from its built environment sector, and there are some areas where it lacks expertise and a critical mass. By opening this new centre we will be able to train more researchers and provide existing staff and students with new skills and ways of working.
"I hope that the centre at the University of Basra is only the first of many in the region and I'm proud that Salford is part of such a worthy project."
A key part of the new centre's activity will involve researchers from different disciplines working together. Multidisciplinary work is relatively unknown in Iraq and the Salford team said they hope that innovative research can be undertaken by engineers, computer scientists and management researchers working together to significantly contribute to the rebuilding process.
In addition to research output, the new centre will help to train academic staff at the University of Basra to create MScs in areas such as project management to help with the development projects that the country needs. It is estimated that 5,000 students a year will benefit from the new methods introduced by Salford.
Academic staff at the centre will have the opportunity to take placements in Salford. The centre, called Built Environment Centre of Excellence, will open later in this academic year.