Fully funded PhD Studentship – Multi-Span Masonry Railway Bridges

University of Nottingham - Department of Civil Engineering

Applications are invited for this 3 year PhD Studentship from suitably qualified graduates to work in the Asset Management Section of the Resilience Engineering Research Group based in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park


The UK railway comprises of 20,000 miles of track and over 40,000 bridges.  Much of the infrastructure is aging and, in order to satisfy the future demand for passenger and freight transport, will experience increased traffic densities and loads.  The maintenance of such systems, to ensure a safe and reliable service restricted by limited financial resources, is a significant challenge and needs to be carefully managed.  Computer models are used to support the decision making to establish the most cost effective maintenance strategy.  The University of Nottingham is Network Rail’s Strategic University Partner in Asset Management and the Asset Management Research Group specialises in the development of models to support the asset management process.  These models include the prediction of the rate of degradation of different railway assets, the effects on the asset state provided by different maintenance strategies and the optimisation of the maintenance strategy accounting for the limited resources available and the operational requirements of the railway.

The Project:

Most bridges composing the Network Rail stock were built in the Victorian era, when codes were not available. As a consequence, personal preferences from builders and designers, local availability of materials and quality of suppliers play a major role in the methods used in construction of these structures. These can significant impact on the long term performance of these structures. The objective of this study is to identify critical parameters on existing masonry bridges, as to be able to classify them in terms of deterioration profile, considering the particular properties of each bridge and group of bridges.

The funding available will cover PhD tuition fees (at the UK/EU rate) and a tax free stipend for three years. International students are welcome to apply with their own funding, and/or to compete for University of Nottingham scholarships to cover fees and tuition (further details on the University of Nottingham website).The successful candidate will have (or will be about to receive) at least an upper second class degree in mathematics, engineering, physics or computer science with a strong skills in modelling and the development of software. 

Further details can be obtained from Prof John Andrews (john.andrews@nottingham.ac.uk)

This post will remain open until filled.

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Midlands of England