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RETURN – Rethinking Tunnelling in Urban Neighbourhoods

Final Report Summary - RETURN (RETURN – Rethinking Tunnelling in Urban Neighbourhoods)

The goal of RETURN project was to devise a radically improved way to predict damage from tunnel-induced settlement by having accurate, cost-effective computational models of the above ground structures at the city-scale. To date major achievements have been realized in the following 8 areas: (1) flightpath planning; (2) fullwave form data processing; (3) data hosting and indexing; (4) object identification from the point cloud in toto; (5) feature identification from subsections of the pointcloud as segregated in point 4; (6) statistical infilling for material unknown from the remote sensing data; (7) risk assessment strategies; and (8) application cases based on models derived from points 4-7.

The RETURN project was a big success over its 48 months, and the research continues to produce tangible outcomes including the July 2017 data release ( ), which represents the highest density urban scan ever produced at 335pt/km for a 1.5 km area. Major technical achievements have also involved the training of 6 funded and 3 affiliated doctoral students; 1 funded and 5 affiliated master’s students; and 2 funded post-doctoral researchers. Additionally, RETURN has had an enormous reach beyond the project itself including collaborative efforts (funded and unfunded) with 42 collaborators at 34 institutions in 14 countries, which also involved 13 academic exchanges (7 incoming and 6 outgoing). The RETURN project also generated extensive cooperation within the primary institution including 14 collaborative projects with 13 researchers across 9 departments, which also involved 19 undergraduate interns and 2 co-supervised master’s students. To date the RETURN project has helped leverage over €5.3 million in affiliated EU, Irish, German, Korean, and Japanese funding.

Research dissemination has been rapid and extensive and remains on going resulting in 19 published journal papers and 17 peer-reviewed conference papers, plus 8 journal papers in review. Of those published, 2 are in the top 1% of all cited papers for its year and 6 more in the top 10% (according to ISI Web of Science Essential Science Indicators). There have also been 2 international contests, 15 other presentations, and 2 films. As part of this, the PI’s total number of citations has increased from 115 at the time of the ERC proposal submission to 1040 at present count. Similarly, her H-index has increased from 6 to 18.

Commercialization achievements include 2 spin out endeavours (a 3D printing hub and an aerial remote surveying company) and 4 invention disclosures. External recognition includes first prize in 2 international contests and the selection of 2 candidates for the Falling Walls competitions (London 2014 & Barcelona 2015), one of whom was selected to compete at the finals in Berlin, plus various institutional and national recognition, and invitations for 3 keynote talks.