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EPSRC FIBE2 CDT Studentship - Geotechnical Consulting Group: Mechanical Behaviour of Artificially Frozen Ground: Experimental Observations and Modelling

This is a four-year (1+3 MRes/PhD) studentship funded through the Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2 CDT). The FIBE2 CDT aims to develop the next generation of infrastructure professionals who can create, shape and deliver the national vision for UK infrastructure, who will be equipped with a versatile and cross-disciplinary skill set to meet the most complex emerging challenges and contribute effectively to better infrastructure decision-making in the UK. Further details can be found at

The project is funded in collaboration with Geotechnical Consulting Group. GCG provides expert advice by applying the sciences of soil, rock mechanics and engineering geology to civil engineering design and construction, and to the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

The applications of artificial ground freezing in construction cover the formation of frozen earth walls to support deep excavations, structural underpinning for foundation improvement, and temporary control of ground water. The growing awareness of the merits of artificial ground freezing as a temporary ground improvement system with minimal environmental impact is directly related to progress in the understanding of the mechanical behaviour of frozen soils. However, a solid framework has yet to be established for the fully coupled thermo-hydromechanical behaviour of frozen/unfrozen soil and there is need for fundamental research to be carried out on experimental characterisation and constitutive modelling.

The proposed project will develop, set-up and use innovative laboratory equipment to investigate experimentally the behaviour of soil on freezing and thawing. The project will provide valuable insight into the mechanical behaviour of frozen soils, drawing upon multi-disciplinary knowledge at the interface between soil mechanics, thermodynamics, soil physics, material science, and industry.

For general enquiries, please email For project-specific enquiries please e-mail Professor Giulia Viggiani []

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a high 2:1 or, preferably, a 1st class honours degree in Civil Engineering. Knowledge of continuum mechanics, thermodynamics, soil mechanics, and geotechnical engineering. The candidate should be willing to engage in the design and construction of innovative equipment for THM testing of frozen soil; some experience in equipment development is desirable.

The FIBE2 CDT studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible UK students. EU and international students will be considered for partial funding (home-level fees and maintenance) from the CDT as part of their application and if selected, will be put forward for funding from the Cambridge Trust for the home-overseas fee difference (which will be awarded at the Cambridge Trust's discretion).

Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at:

To apply for this studentship, candidates must apply through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal. The portal is at: and there is a £70 fee for PhD applications, with Mechanical Behaviour of Artificially Frozen Ground: Experimental Observations and Modelling quoted on the form and Professor Giulia Viggiani identified as the potential supervisor.

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