University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


PhD Studentship in thermal integrity testing of deep foundations ¿ instrumentation and interpretation

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship funded through a CASE award sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Arup is available in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Drs Mohammed Elshafie and Cedric Kechavarzi. The studentship has a start date of October 2017. Due to funding restrictions the studentship/project is only available to UK (full fees and maintenance) or EU citizens (fees only). We are unable to consider applications from any non-EU citizen for this studentship.

In the UK, the current industry standard to test the integrity of deep concrete foundations is to use Crosshole Sonic Logging (CSL). Although well established, this method has a number of known technical limitations as well as adverse construction safety aspect during reinforcement cage assembly. These issues are key factors in the foundation industry's wish to change to a better integrity testing method. This exciting research will build on from recent distributed fibre optic research at Cambridge University, investigating in a new area of thermal heat transfer to develop and prove an interpretation method to assess the structural integrity of deep foundations using distributed fibre optic sensors installed within foundations. The interpretation method will use the thermal data measured during the hydration of the curing concrete to determine the geometry of the as-built foundations. This research will run in parallel with two other PhD studentships into concrete and foundation support fluid at Cambridge University to collectively bring improvements to foundation construction in the industry.

As the research offers significant benefits to industry, the successful applicant will work closely with Arup and other industry partners. The student will carry out practical laboratory and field testing as well as advanced numerical simulations. The numerical work will focus on heat transfer modelling in piles and soil during concrete curing to study the influence of various parameters on concrete temperature in situ. This modelling will be validated against field data in order to develop guidance for the interpretation of thermal testing data and the assessment of foundation integrity. The research is conducted in partnership with engineering consultants Arup (http:/// Additional information on the academic supervisor is found at:

Applicants are expected to have:

  1. A First Class degree in a relevant field from a UK institution or the equivalent from a non-UK university. If you hold a non-UK degree, please follow the link to determine if your final grade/mark satisfies the requirement:

  2. Strong experimental and problem solving skills

  3. The standing needed to meet the graduate admissions entrance requirements of the University of Cambridge. The successful candidate will be expected to formally apply for admission:

To apply for this position, please email the following to Ms Magdalena Charytoniuk, by Friday 31st March 2017, as late applications will not be considered:

  1. Please ensure that you are eligible by visiting:
  2. A cover letter summarising your qualifications and interests
  3. A copy of your CV
  4. A copy of your transcripts and/or certificates from your previous degree(s) that show the grades/marks received.
  5. Include reference iCASE-ARUP in the subject of your email

If you are unable to send your application via email, please post it to: Ms Magdalena Charytoniuk, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Schofield Centre, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0EL

To apply for this position, please email the following to Ms Magdalena Charytoniuk, with the required documents by Friday 31st March 2017 short listed applicants will be asked to apply via the Graduate Admission Office:

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.