The RECONMATIC partners were thrilled to participate in the 2nd Annual Meeting of the project, as it was a great opportunity for them to meet and work together in person. The meeting was hosted by the University of Salford and the University of Manchester, in Manchester, UK, on September 14th and 15th, 2023. It was a productive two-day event with a full agenda, packed with insightful workshops and discussions about our project, alongside eye-opening visits to the impressive facilities of both universities. ( For information on the toured facilities see the end of this article)
After the warm welcome by our host, Prof. Juan-Antonio FérrizPapí (University of Salford), who leads the team in the UK, our project coordinator, Jan Valentin (Czech Technical University in Prague) presented an overview of our first year in the project and some key points to improve our strategy and collaboration. During the first day sessions, the partners had the chance to assess RECONMATIC’s progress and strategies for the future in all work packages.
Participants then toured the Energy House 2.0 and North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC) at the University of Salford, gaining insight into these institutions' latest advancements. The day rounded off with dinner, offering further networking opportunities in a casual setting.
However, the highlight of the afternoon at Salford University was the arrival of the representatives of our Chinese partners. It was the very first time they were meeting in person with the RECONMATIC Team! Thus, the second day of the meeting was opened by our host Prof. Yong Wang (University of Manchester ) who welcomed the Chinese partners in the UK and gave the floor to their team. Arcas & Callisto Consulting facilitated the attendance of nine Chinese partners representing the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People's Republic of China (MoHURD) and the China Academy of Building Research. Among them, Prof. Jingjiang Liu and Mrs. Siya Wang, who are also members of our International Expert Advisory Board. Their attendance at the annual project meeting marks the official beginning of the collaboration between Europe and China within the RECONMATIC Project.
Jingjiang Liu, the director of the Tech Acceleration Centre at the MoHURD, said: "It was a great pleasure to meet the project partners, have face-to-face communication, hear the wonderful presentations, and be inspired. Thanks to Arcas & Callisto Consulting’s arrangement to make this trip happen and thanks to RECONMATIC coordinators Juan Antonio Férriz Papí and Jan Valentin. We are more than happy to share our experience with all the partners, contribute to the project and enable project results to reach more countries, especially developing countries." Jia W. Li, representing the Chinese Team in the UK and the EU, presented the tasks of the Chinese project and all partners celebrated the beginning of this great collaboration.
A parallel workshop followed, for a deep dive into sustainability and circularity assessment tools and the organisation of the RECONMATIC Open Days. The discussion on the Open Days focused on the organisation of the upcoming events in the Czech Republic on the 6th of October and next year in the UK. The first RECONMATIC event will be part of the European Researchers Night in Prague and will be organized by the Czech Technical University ( CTU), aiming to attract the general audience and induce them to the "mystery" of recycling and economy in construction. Next year’s event in the UK will be focused on the technical aspects of the project addressing the industry, the authorities and students as well. All Open Days will be supported by Future Needs (FN) and organized by the partners in the hosting countries.
Later the attendees were impressed by the tour of the University facilities, as they had the unique opportunity to explore the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials.
With a rich array of discussions, presentations, and interactive workshops, the two-day assembly proved to be a fertile ground for idea exchange and strategic planning. Reflecting on the significance of the meeting, it is clear that the assembly not only allowed us to showcase our progress but also fostered collaborations, enabled knowledge-sharing, and set a clear path for the project's next steps. Special thanks to the project coordinator Jan Valentin and our hosts Juan Antonio Férriz Papí and Yong Wang, who organized this successful annual meeting, as well as to our respected 23 consortium partners from 7 countries (including the EU, UK and China) for their contributions and collaboration.
For further information on the aim, the events and the outcomes of the RECONMATIC Project, you are invited to visit our website at www.reconmatic.eu. Please subscribe to receive our news in your inbox and stay up to date with all our activities by following RECONMATIC on LinkedIn and X (ex. Twitter).
Some information on the facilities visited
Energy House 2.0 is a recently built temperature-controlled chamber that can stress test green tech to help make houses energy efficient. Inside the chamber, scientists can set the temperature to -20C or to the shock high of 40C experienced also in the UK in the last years. They can also batter the houses built inside Energy House 2.0 with force winds or a snowstorm to test their energy performance.
NERIC is a £16m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Research England-funded facility for digital and robotics innovation for England Northwest region. This Robotics Centre is a focal point of the University’s commitment to industry collaboration, innovation, and skills training around the established and continually expanding area of robotics and automation expertise. The focus areas for the NERIC will include robotics for intelligent infrastructure, which will be used both for assisting SMEs in developing innovative solutions, as well as for research projects similar to RECONMATIC. The Research Centre is equipped with a fleet of industrial robots and industrial automation equipment that can be used for applications relevant to construction waste segregation and decommissioning.
The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) was created to bridge the gap between cutting-edge University-based research into graphene materials and industry. The GEIC helps companies develop and launch new technologies, products and processes that exploit the remarkable properties of graphene and other 2D materials.
The Henry Royce Institute (often referred to as ‘Royce’) is the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation. Its stated mission is to “support world-recognised excellence in UK materials research, accelerating commercial exploitation of innovations, and delivering positive economic and societal impact for the UK”. Royce operates as a hub and spoke collaboration between the University of Manchester (the hub), and the spokes of the founding Partners National Nuclear Laboratory, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, University of Oxford and the University of Sheffield. Royce also has two Associate Partners, Cranfield University and the University of Strathclyde.