After 28 years as a leader in trenchless research and professional education, the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT) at the University of Waterloo will cease to exist as of April 30.
The members were asked to vote on the dissolution at a March 2 virtual membership meeting. With CATT’s activities at the University of Waterloo ending on April 30, the final CATT event will be the 2022 Trenchless Technology Road Show in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Despite the dissolution, the research and education efforts of CATT will go on and grow with the creation of the Canadian Underground Infrastructure Innovation Centre (CUIIC).
The dissolution of CATT was fully supported by its board, as well as the University of Waterloo, which has avowed to support the CUIIC initiative. CATT encourages all members to join CUIIC when membership is available.
According to CATT executive director Mark Knight, the planning process that led to this vote began in Fall 2021, as the CATT Board of Directors began exploring what the next iteration of CATT would look like.
Knight refers to CATT in three versions. CATT 1.0 was from its formation in 1994 to 2002 when Knight became executive director. CATT 2.0 is 2002 to present and CATT 3.0 is the future.
“This is all about succession planning, looking to the future and innovating,” says Knight, who first became involved with CATT in 1997, when then executive director Robert McKim recruited him for a horizontal directional drilling (HDD) research project.
“It’s time for version 3.0. We must change and adapt along with the industry and pass the torch on to the next generation,” he says. “Building this new organization allows us to have a clean slate.”
The new organization Knight is referring to is the CUIIC, which will also include the Consortium for Engineered Trenchless Technologies (CETT) at the University of Alberta. CETT director Alireza Bayat, is a former University of Waterloo graduate, will lead the CUIIC.
Bayat is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University and is the NSERC Associate Industrial Research Chair in Underground Trenchless Construction. NSERC is the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Led by Bayat, the CUIIC will focus on ensuring that sustainable underground infrastructure is constructed and maintained across Canada. This will be accomplished by building on the past successes of CATT and CETT, as well as the vast network of national and international researchers and industry professionals in these organizations.
It will also build Canada’s first world-class hub for research, innovation and education in underground infrastructure.
Work is under way to formalize CUIIC as a center in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta with an official launch in Spring 2022. The hope is that the first round of courses and research projects will start in Fall 2022.