Innovation as a catalyst for growth

Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive, Network Rail UK and former Chief Executive of the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority.

A Faculty of Engineering & In formation Technologies Deans Lecture

75:24 minutes Download video (mp4, 250 Mb)

8 October

Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies Dean's International Lecture Series brings key international guest speakers in the fields of engineering and information technologies to the University of Sydney.

In this lecture Sir David Higgins, knighted for his work on Europe’s biggest construction project - the Olympic Park in London, will argue that infrastructure is much more than just a discounted cash flow. It is a national asset.

Using examples like the Oresund Bridge, the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe connecting the Danish capital of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, Sir David will show that whilst the bridge itself has not achieved the anticipated traffic and could be considered poor value for money, it has transformed this part of Scandinavia. The same hard economic modelling, if applied to the Channel Tunnel would show a similar comparison. The High Speed rail link between London and Paris – which has replaced half of all air traffic – has also transformed travel between the two cities.

Sir David brings a unique experience and perspective from working on the London Olympics infrastructure, a project that itself has had a transformational impact on East London.

Sir David Higgins

Sir David Higgins gained a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney and a diploma at the Securities Institute of Australia. After graduation, he worked in the United Kingdom and Africa, before returning to Australia in 1983, and joining the international property and construction company Lend Lease Corporation in 1985. In 1995, he was appointed managing director and chief executive, when the corporation’s developments included the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In March 2003, Higgins was Chief Executive of English Partnerships, a UK government national regeneration agency.

Higgins was appointed Chief Executive Designate of the Olympic Development Authority from December 2005, and appointed Chief Executive from March 2006. In September 2010, he took up the role of Chief Executive of Network Rail.