Heriot-Watt University

Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering

Heriot-Watt University

Job Description

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

Shaping Tomorrow Together 

The university is running a campaign to identify key academic talent join us across our Edinburgh, Galashiels, and Dubai campuses and across multiple Schools and Disciplines. You will join as an Assistant Professor. This is an exciting campaign to kick off in late 2022 and into 2023. So, we are really interested in hearing from you as we look to you to help us shape tomorrow together.

About our Team

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity.  We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching.  Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Knowledge Park and Putrajaya, respectively.

The School’s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and the biology suite. On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design. On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and petroleum engineering.  We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice. Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body. This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area. You can find further information about the School’s postgraduate programmes at https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/postgraduate-programmes.htm

Detailed Description

The School seeks to appoint an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering. We are particularly interested in applicants with expertise, or with a developing research record, in one of the following areas:

  • resilient and sustainable infrastructure
  • low carbon construction/circular economy/sustainable materials
  • smart cities and civil engineering systems
  • big data analytics for management of structures and civil engineering systems.

This is an exciting opportunity to develop a leading role in the development and delivery of innovative teaching and research. Heriot-Watt University is known for its research-informed course delivery and the global multi-campus education it provides. The successful applicant will have a strong student-centred approach to pedagogy and curriculum design and will be encouraged to innovate.  There are numerous opportunities for teaching/research linkages and for education to be strongly informed by the applicant’s research background.

Heriot-Watt is a research intensive university, with the School achieving world-leading status in the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise of 2021. The successful candidate will be expected to make a substantive contribution to the next research assessment process. 

This is an exciting time to join an already successful team. Applications from candidates who can operate at the cross disciplinary boundaries of civil engineering and allied fields are particularly welcome.  Applicants must have a good record of high quality publications and possess excellent team working and communication skills.  Previous teaching experience, a strong commitment to the student experience, and evidence of innovation in teaching delivery are essential. The candidate must also be a graduate in Civil Engineering with a doctorate in a Civil Engineering or a closely related field. Any relevant industrial experience is desirable but not essential.

School Structure:

Research and teaching within the School is structured across six Institutes. The successful candidate will be based within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment, with direct links into the Institute for Sustainable Building Design.

The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE) undertakes advanced research to deliver technological advances and inform government policy on topics such as climate change, sustainable development, infrastructure deterioration and security as well as covering specialist themes such as water management, high-speed rail, systems engineering; construction materials, geo-mechanics and structures.

Further information, please visit: http://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/research/institute-infrastructure-environment.htm

Our Institute for Sustainable Building Design (ISBD) aims to be world leading in architectural and building systems engineering, construction management and innovative building design. It delivers excellence in specialist areas of high value, high impact research, and postgraduate training across a wide range of fields covering sustainability, design and management in the built environment. Staff are currently working in building energy systems, acoustics, water and drainage, building simulation, low carbon innovations, construction management, and circular economy approaches, and are leading the way in providing research solutions to the challenges in these fields. Further information can be obtained at:


For information on other Institutes within the School, please visit:

Key Duties and Responsibilities

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

Research and Knowledge Exchange 

  • Identify and develop their own research agenda, focussing on research that is valuable and relevant to government, society and industry.
  • Identify sources of funding for research, then successfully win funding through submission of effective proposals and support production of proposals elsewhere within the School as appropriate.
  • Regularly publish high impact research findings in recognised industry-leading journals; share findings at conferences and within the School
  • Further disseminate research activity using an appropriate range of media for example through external reports, conference presentations, exhibitions of research activity or via short courses for knowledge transfer; 
  • Recruit and supervise PhD students through to successful qualification and supervise MSc student projects.

Learning and Teaching 

  • Undertake teaching duties in relation to courses appropriate to your area of expertise (e.g. through practical sessions, lectures, seminars, tutorials) on the Edinburgh campus.
  • Contribute to the continued development of undergraduate studies in consultation with the Director of Studies;
  • Undertake scholarly activity related to the effective delivery of the curriculum and maintain the level of your subject expertise in line with the latest developments in the field; 
  • Contribute to the design and delivery of the curriculum in consultation with colleagues and within the structures and mechanisms established by the School and University; 
  • Conduct assessment and moderation across the discipline area, ensuring this is rigorous, fair and clear and undertaken within the policies established by the School and University; 
  • Be responsible for providing effective, well documented and timely feedback, both formative and summative, to students; 
  • Contribute to the monitoring of the quality of learning and teaching through course monitoring and contribute to quality management and enhancement activities across the programme, School and University; 
  • Design, prepare and develop a range of learning materials appropriate to the subject area in support of teaching; 
  • Disseminate the development of good learning and teaching practice  
  • Provide appropriate pastoral support recognising the varied cultural backgrounds of the student cohort; 
  • Stay abreast of developments in civil engineering education and ensure that these developments are reflected in the evolution of the learning and teaching methods employed on the programme; 
  • Interact with staff within and outside the School to support the development of the discipline; 
  • Develop productive working relationships with other members of staff to facilitate effective team working for benefit of the subject area.  

Academic Management and Administration 

  • Undertake administrative tasks associated with programme planning, preparation for examination and progression boards, course development teams etc. 
  • Engage in team working and work with others to the benefit of the School and the University; 
  • Take a proactive role both internally and externally in promoting and marketing programmes of study, ensuring the effective and efficient recruitment of students and the achievement of home and international recruitment targets. 
  • Contribute to the effective recruitment, admission and induction to the courses with which you are involved, ensuring compliance with the School and University targets. This will include involvement in School and University open days and interview processes; 
  • Monitor student number targets; 
  • Contribute to the resource planning for the academic year; 
  • Participate as a member of the appropriate committees as required; 
  • Devise income generating activities including assisting with raising sponsorship as well as other activities that will raise the profile of the School’s programmes; 
  • Represent the School effectively in both the national and international context. 

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve. 

We will measure applicants based on the essential criteria, not by the key duties.

Education, Qualifications and Experience (i.e. Person Specification)


  • First degree in Civil Engineering
  • PhD in Civil Engineering or a cognate discipline
  • Knowledge and experience in topics related to Civil Engineering, for example this could include but is not limited to resilient infrastructure, smart cities, sustainable construction materials, circular economy in construction, big data analytics for structures and civil engineering systems 
  • A track record of high-quality research publications
  • A developing track record of generating external research income
  • Experience of teaching in a higher education environment
  • Evidence of innovation in teaching delivery at undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • A clear personal research focus aligned to the areas of interest of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment and the wider School
  • Effectiveness as a research supervisor
  • Evidence of vision, drive and determination to succeed
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Demonstrably excellent oral and written communication skills


  • Experience in or at least an enthusiasm for novel pedagogical approaches
  • A developing track record in teaching innovation at undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • Ability to operate at the cross-disciplinary boundaries of civil engineering and allied fields
  • Links with industry or relevant industrial experience

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on the 19th February 2023. 

Applicants must make their submission via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system and include: (1) Cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post; (2) Full CV that includes the list of publications (3) Research and teaching statements, showing their strengths in one or more of the research areas above.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Lynne Jack, Director of Institute – l.b.jack@hw.ac.uk

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities.  Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/services/equality-diversity.htm and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers https://disc.hw.ac.uk/ .

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.