University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


EPSRC DTP Studentship- The Added-Basement Effect: Ground-borne Vibration and the Impact of Subterranean Property Developments

Underground railways can be a significant source of ground-borne vibration, causing disturbance to building occupants and disruption to equipment in specialist buildings. Some locations suffering from increases in vibration levels are associated with areas of the railway where rail roughness - the primary cause of vibration - is known to have remained unchanged. Recent work has concluded that subterranean property developments, such as building foundations, water/sewage tunnels and underground basements, have significant potential to modify the ground vibration field, redirecting vibration energy to previously undisturbed buildings. To help facilitate the assessment of future developments, as well as informing revisions to the planning process, there is a clear need for new guidance.

This project will apply fundamental engineering science, underpinned by site measurements, to develop a full understanding of the problem, as well as investigate potential mitigation measures. A study will be undertaken to understand fully the nature of the problem; to quantify the changes in vibration levels associated with construction in the vicinity of an underground railway. Semi-analytical and numerical models will be used to develop an understanding of the fundamental dynamic behaviour, building upon the Cambridge PiP model for underground railway tunnels, as well as recent work in the area of soil-structure interaction and boundary-element modelling. The research will be designed to enable the development of practicable guidance and the necessary analysis tools required by practitioners.

Techniques used in the vibration isolation of buildings will be used as the basis for investigating ways in which the impact of new basements may be mitigated. Where possible, site measurements will be used to assist with model validation, in collaboration with Transport for London and other industrial partners. Advantage will be taken of current work developing low-cost instrumentation for the widespread monitoring of ground-borne vibration.

The project is funded by EPSRC and sponsored by Farrat Isolevel Ltd, a leading supplier of vibration isolation solutions. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Farrat and associated partners, to ensure practical implementation of the research outcomes.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) the equivalent of a UK first class honours degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in Mechanical or Structural Engineering. Preference will be given to those with experience in Structural Dynamics.

To apply for this studentship, please send your two-page CV to Dr James Talbot (, to arrive no later than 15 March 2020.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. 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: 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.