Awards 1991 IBM Award for Sustainable Development

IBM Award for Sustainable Development

Frank Graham Consulting Engineers

Frank Graham - a Reading-based group with over 500 staff-have carried out an unusual task for consulting engineers, that of setting up a locally run master of science course at an overseas university, sustainable without outside help.

This began as a World Bank-funded scheme launched by Bina Marga, Indonesia's Ministry of Works, to train staff by establishing a highway engineering course at the Institute of Technology, Bandung. When the initial contract ended in l985, Frank Graham took over with a new management team headed by Dr Scott Younger.

The course provides state-of-the-art knowledge of highway and traffic engineering while stressing the importance of highways to the economy and society .A specific aim of the re-launch was to get local Indonesian staff to take over most of the teaching and course management. Another was to bring staff members from Bina Marga on to the course. The Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University joined in, and the British Government put up extra money.

Over 130 students have now graduated and many have obtained higher-paid jobs as a result. The course, which is up to international standards, produces about 25 new graduates a year. As one objective is to improve the students' English, some use of English continues though most of the teaching is by local staff. The teaching is fitted to Indonesian conditions and the students research into lndonesian problems.

One concerns minimising traffic delays at junctions. Swedish and American calculations proved inappropriate because drivers behave differently, road surfaces allow different acceleration, and there may be no white lines. Frank Graham are now involved in a SweRoad contract to produce an Indonesian highway capacity manual, the first such manual in a developing country.

In another project, research into the properties of soft lndonesian volcanic clays helped save money on the construction of a Bandung bypass. Dr Scott Younger, with the University of Strathclyde, has proposed a similar course for Malaysia's technological university at Johor Bahru. Frank Graham are also discussing with Malaysians the establishment of a new university.