EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L016826/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Civil Engineering
Principal Investigator: Vollum, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Ochieng, Professor WY Swan, Professor C Elghazouli, Professor A
Zdravkovic, Professor L Buenfeld, Professor NR
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Anglian Water Arup Group Ltd Atkins
BAM Buro Happold Climate KIC UK
Ellen Macarthur Foundation Geotechnical Consulting Laing O'Rourke Ltd
MWH UK Ltd Robert Bird Group UK Shell
Steel Construction Institute Useful Simple Trust
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 31 October 2023 Value (£): 3,902,610
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Construction Ops & Management Structural Engineering
Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel A Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This proposal concerns the creation of an internationally leading Centre for doctoral training in sustainable civil engineering. The widest possible definition of sustainability is adopted, with the Centre covering the effective whole life design and performance of major civil engineering infrastructure. This includes the re-appraisal and re-use of existing infrastructure and the opportunities afforded by multiple-use. This sector is widely reported to face major problems recruiting the type, quality and number of people required. The Centre will address the key challenges of fit for purpose, economic viability, environmental impact, resilience, infrastructure inter-dependence, durability as well as the impacts of changes in population, urbanisation, available natural resources, technology and societal expectations. This requires a broad-based approach to research training, effectively integrated across the wide range of disciplines presently encompassed within the civil engineering profession. Very few academic institutions are capable of providing in-depth training across this range of subjects. However, the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Imperial College, recently (QS 2013) ranked number one in the world against its competitor departments, is uniquely placed within the UK to achieve exactly this.

The Centre will recruit high quality, ambitious engineers. The doctoral training will combine intellectual challenge, technical content and rigor, with focused involvement in the practically important problems presently faced by the civil engineering profession. Advice and guidance from a high-level and broadly-based industrial advisory panel will be important in achieving the latter. Most importantly, the CDT will equip students with an appreciation of the wider context in which their research work is undertaken. The proposed programme is clearly designed to be PhD-PLUS; where the PLUS relates to a clear understanding of the breath of the problem within which their specific research sits, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. This latter component will include the industrial perspective, the societal need, the long term sustainability of the work and its immediate impact. The proposed CDT will make a difference by producing high quality civil engineers who understand global sustainability issues, in the widest possible context, and who have the skills and vision to eventually lead major infrastructure development projects or research programmes.

Training will combine intensive taught training modules, group working around Grand Challenge projects in collaboration with industry and high quality research training. Project-based multi-disciplinary collaborative working will be at the core of the CDT training experience, modelling the way leading companies explore design options involving mixed disciplinary teams working together on ambitious projects. Working on a real-world problem, the students will have to interact extensively with others to understand the problem in detail, to develop holistic potential solutions, to assess these solutions and to identify the uncertainties and questions that can only be answered through further research. They will develop skills associated with coping with complexity, being able to make value-based decisions and being confident with interdisciplinary working. They will also be heavily involved in identifying and defining the research problem within the wider multi-faceted project and so will gain a much broader perspective of how specific research developing responsible innovation fits within a large civil engineering project. Overall, this approach is much more likely to develop the additional skills required by industry compared to conventional doctoral civil engineering training.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk