University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


EPSRC FIBE2 CDT PhD studentship with Laing O'Rourke: Digital Basements: optimising basement construction using real-time monitoring and digital twins

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

This full-time project is funded in collaboration with Laing O'Rourke, an international engineering and construction company delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure and buildings projects for clients in the UK, Middle East and Australia.

Project Details: Urban basement construction is an increasingly challenging and high-risk activity. As the industry is forced to reuse old inner-city foundations, monitored structural health will be become critical: (a) to make a convincing case for reuse and (b) to inform the design of the new superstructure.

For the first time, this PhD project will develop digital twins for basements to enable design and construction optimisation. The project will develop autonomous connections between 3D design models, structural (e.g. finite element) models and state-of-the-art real-time site monitoring. Close collaboration with industry partner Laing O'Rourke will enable uncertain parameters in the design process to be identified. This will inform an optimal site monitoring layout to target these uncertainties. The monitored data will feed back into the design process 'on-the-fly' and life-time monitored behaviours will be stored in the digital twin to inform future foundation reuse. The workflow will be validated on a candidate construction project in the UK.

For project-specific enquiries please e-mail Dr Brian Sheil ( For general enquiries, please email

Applicants should possess a Bachelor or Masters degree in civil engineering and have a good record of academic achievement. They should have good written and spoken communication skills in English. Finally, they should be highly self-motivated. Training or experience in construction would be beneficial but is not essential.

The FIBE2 CDT studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students. A small number of funded places may be available for excellent EU/international students. Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at:

Applications should be made online on stating course code EGEGR3 with Digital Basements: optimising basement construction using real-time monitoring and digital twins with supervisor Dr Brian Sheil stated on the form.

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