Experimentation : The Key to a Research-Development Strategy in Civil Engineering
Over the decades up until the beginning of the 1980s, a separation between fundamental research, applied research, and development, was commonly acknowledged by all those in charge of research, both public and private. At the heart of the research and development relationship, experimental structures play an essential part. The specific features of civil engineering, whether technical, economic, contractual, geographical, or human and sociological imply that the chain, to be effective, should comprise an additional link: experimentation. A few essential conditions for effective experimentation include: a convinced owner, a design office and contractors open to innovation, precise and limited objectives, a reproducible structure representative of a technically and/or economically important market, thorough instrumentation, broad diffusion of results and lessons learnt, and a trusting relationship. Rather than aiming for the exceptional, the leitmotiv in the field of experimentation is "a structure of ordinary dimensions on an ordinary site.