UNESCO Chair

PLACING QUALITY EDUCATION AND ADVANCED RESEARCH AT THE FOREFRONT

IN

ATTAINING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES THROUGH HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH BASED ACTIONS

    

WORKING TOWARDS SDGS

The chair offers postgraduate program in the field of civil and environmental engineering to support students from developing countries in terms of education, research, and training. Postgraduate courses in the field of Geotechnical Engineering, Structural and Material Engineering, Earthquake and Disaster Prevention Engineering, Transportation and Planning, and Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering are offered. Besides mandatory coursework, the program supports individual students to carry out research related to the issues of their home country. Over 550 students from 30 different countries have graduated from the program till date and the graduates are actively contributing to the development goals of their respective home countries.

TABGIBLE ACTIONS

A range of research activities is conducted under the domain of the program offered by the chair, encompassing several SDGs.

SDG 9: On industry, innovation & infrastructure

In tropical regions, concrete structures are often exposed to strong solar radiation and heavy rainfall, leading to initial defects and early deterioration of concrete. Such environmental actions, however, are yet to be taken into account in the design and construction of concrete structures. Comprehensive chemical and physical studies of concrete structures under severe environmental actions in tropical region such as Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and other countries have been targeted in this ongoing research. Moreover, effects of material properties such as cement composition and aggregate type on the deterioration of concrete are also considered. As a final goal, the ongoing research aims to contribute in the establishment of design code for concrete in tropical countries.

SDG 6: On clean water and sanitation

Unregulated waste dumping sites have played a crucial part in social and environmental problems in developing countries. In a bid to solve such issues, sustainable and best available engineering techniques for environmental pollution control and infrastructure development based on low-cost, low-maintenance, and low-environmental impact are desired. Under the support of JST-JICA Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) project, site-specific pollution control and remediation techniques such as landfill leachate treatment, permeable reactive barrier system, and impermeable liner system for waste dumping sites have been developed and applied in Sri Lanka utilizing locally available geo-/bio-materials.

SDG13: On climate action

 

For minimizing risks associated with high-energy events like tsunamis and storm surges, a range of methods for optimal risk reduction has been studied in the aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the tsunami triggered by 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Employed methods not only comprise of natural systems such as coastal vegetation, coastal lagoons, and/or sand dunes, but also encompass artificial structures such as embankments, breakwaters, and seawalls; a combination of both the natural systems and artificial systems is also utilized. The proposed bioshield and/or multiple defence system has been developed in Matara, Sri Lanka, and is currently under construction in Hokkaido, Japan. Ongoing research also contributes to the proper planning and management of vegetation for promoting and strengthening the concept of Eco-DRR by analysing the effectiveness of combination of artificial and natural structures.

SDG11: On sustainable cities and communities

World’s cultural and natural heritages are treasures for human beings all over the world. The state of these important heritages is required to be maintained in their original form. However, it is difficult to preserve the same state especially for those heritages with a very long history. In order to preserve important cultural and/or natural heritages, underlying issue(s) leading to their deterioration needs be clarified. Intensive investigations comprising of both the material science techniques and geoscientific and anthological analyses are necessary. Moreover, some heritages and cultural properties are in severe conditions due to past as well as ongoing war and conflicts. Peaceful international collaborative research is necessary in preserving these important heritages.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

The chair plans to expand its role in providing quality education by increasing the number of student intake from developing countries and conducting research activities in attaining a range of SDGs under the field of civil and environmental engineering.

Prospectus for 2017 - 2018 is now available.