Centre for Future Infrastructure

A world-class centre of excellence on infrastructure systems, CFI combines knowledge and expertise within the University’s subject areas of informatics, architecture, social and political studies and business.

The Centre for Future Infrastructure’s (CFI) mission is to deliver solutions for addressing the complex integrated challenges of climate change, sustainability, resilience and global population growth which lead to positive economic, societal and environmental outcomes. Whether it is in the design, planning, delivery or end of asset life, CFI supports and engages with the full life cycle of infrastructure involving the physical, social and digital fabric that underpins our world.

“Our future infrastructure is critical to address climate change challenges, sustainable development and also to serve our future global and local communities”

Sean Smith, Director, Centre for Future Infrastructure

CFI brings together a wide range of diverse disciplines and key research experts from across the University of Edinburgh working with industry and public sector to support new innovative approaches and solutions. Our expertise can be integrated to support projects from engineering, business, geosciences, architecture, planning, social sciences, informatics, health, science, law and humanities.

Infrastructure is a keystone for cities, towns and communities both globally and locally, it enhances our quality of life, and allows us to live, to work, to trade, to travel and to communicate. The world is changing. Extreme weather events are more frequent, natural resources are diminishing, the potential for conflict to protect scarce resources is increasing, and our global economy has experienced unprecedented shocks. Stability is now more challenging to guarantee. Change is the new norm.

Understanding how our infrastructure supports our life-essentials during these times of constant change is a complex system-of-systems problem. It requires many knowledge sources, many skills and many perspectives. Multi-disciplined and inter-disciplinary teams, utilising data driven and evidence based approaches, are needed to address the challenges of building and maintaining infrastructure systems that are resilient, sustainable and adaptable. A world without well-functioning infrastructure is a world without an equitable future for all.

In focus



Spinner on mountain on mint gradient background

Gain skills and develop knowledge of our future infrastructure challenges and climate related adaptation and resilience requirements in order to influence and shape future infrastructure needs, policy, investments, planning, societal and environmental benefits.




Professor Sean Smith, Director of the Centre for Future Infrastructure at EFI leads proposals on the establishment of a task force to retrofit housing and meet Scotland’s ambitious net zero targets.



Long road running into distance under blue cloudy sky

The Centre for Future Infrastructure (CFI) has been awarded seed funding through the Cornell-Edinburgh joint universities knowledge exchange partnership.

Projects and Partnerships

futuristic glass construction housing plants

Sustainable regeneration development partnership with Dubai

A key partnership between the British University in Dubai (BUiD) and the University of Edinburgh is shedding new light on future city sustainable regeneration.

stunning nature shot of galapogas

Supporting Net Zero Transition in the Galapagos Islands

Interdisciplinary teams involving the Centre for Future Infrastructure have been researching the challenges and opportunities in sustainable and inclusive decarbonisation of the islands.

energy efficient retrofitting on building

Archetype retrofit strategy to accelerate zero emission social housing

Centre for Future Infrastructure working with Scotland’s housing associations and local authorities developed a proposed retrofit roadmap.

aerial view of perth west development

CFI research assists Perth West £118 Million investment plans

The Centre for Future Infrastructure (CFI) undertook research on behalf of Lamberkin Trust to investigate the potential role of Perth West development to support future low carbon transport via a key hub site.

model of a house with energy efficiency rating markers

CFI plays integral role in £800 Million energy efficiency procurement framework

CFI supported the development of the Scotland Excel £800 Million housing energy efficiency procurement framework.

HeatWayv unit installed in kitch

CFI project supports innovative heating system ‘Heat Wayv’

CFI undertook a study to review the infrastructure and skills for integration into the UK building stock and found the system had over 20 advantages over other heating technologies.

different coloured recycling bins lined up against wall

Midlothian circular economy is equivalent to powering 7,000 homes

CFI undertook a unique study assessing the applications and carbon savings from Midlothian residents recycling their household waste.

Long road running into distance under blue cloudy sky

CFI awarded Edinburgh-Cornell Seed Funding Partnership

The Centre for Future Infrastructure (CFI) has been awarded seed funding through the Cornell-Edinburgh joint universities knowledge exchange partnership.

Meet the team

Headshot of Sean Smith

Sean Smith

Director, Centre for Future Infrastructure

Associated with Centre for Future Infrastructure

We work with a range of University of Edinburgh staff from various Schools and Research Institutes on CFI Research and Knowledge Exchange projects.

Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.