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EPSRC iCASE Studentship - Integrating remote sensing and civil engineering for intelligent infrastructure monitoring


Applications are invited for one PhD studentship supported by the EPSRC and EDF Energy to work in integrating remote satellite data analysis and structural engineering for advanced monitoring of infrastructure.

Improvements in the space and time resolution of remotely sensed data have enabled new insights into changes in the earth's surface, both its composition and the physical-chemical phenomena occurring within it. Combining satellite imagery with civil engineering knowledge and models can provide an enhanced overview of the structural health of infrastructure, both individual assets and those spread over large geographical regions.

This studentship is intended to enable the development of new methodologies which combine conventional surveying and civil engineering analysis with satellite remote sensing across a wide variety of critical infrastructure. The satellite data will primarily be Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to monitor millimetre-scale movements to identify signs of unusual infrastructure behaviour, but the successful candidate will have the opportunity to shape the research to have maximum real-life impact. The integration of remote sensing data analysis and civil engineering will enable the development of high-quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, by properly assessing the interaction between infrastructure, environmental effects and human activities.

The successful candidate will be based at the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge, but will spend 3-6 months in an industrial placement with EDF Energy in Croydon, south London. EDF Energy work in energy generation across the renewables and nuclear sectors and will work with the PhD candidate in providing opportunities for case studies.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree (and preferably a Master's degree) in Engineering or Physical Sciences. This PhD will be multidisciplinary, straddling both civil engineering and signal and image processing. The successful candidate should have the following skills:

  • Strong analytical skills to be applied to civil engineering
  • Interest in and aptitude for signal processing, numerical modelling and programming
  • Independence and self-motivation
  • Ability to work independently and in a team
  • Strong aptitude for working with industrial partners and other research institutions
  • High level of proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

Experience in or knowledge of civil-structural engineering applications in the infrastructure sector and/or InSAR and remote sensing would be a strong advantage.

The starting date for this PhD will be October 2020. To apply for this studentship, please send your two-page CV and cover letter by email to Mrs Jan Wojtecki, Laing O'Rourke Centre Manager (engcnmgr@hermes.cam.ac.uk) to arrive no later than 30 June 2020. For queries related to this position, please contact Sakthy Selvakumaran (ss683@cam.ac.uk).

EPSRC iCASE studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £65 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg.

The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2020 although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.