Network Rail Fully Funded PhD Studentship – Modelling Bridge Deterioration and Maintenance

Updated: 5 months ago
Location: Nottingham, SCOTLAND
Deadline: 31 Dec 2022

Closing Date
Saturday, 31st December 2022
Civil Engineering

Research Group:  Resilience Engineering 

Applications are invited for this 3.5 year PhD project, from suitably qualified graduates to work in the Resilience Engineering Research Group, based in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park. The University of Nottingham has worked with Network Rail, as its Strategic University Partner in Infrastructure Asset Management, for over 10 years and our Research Group specialises in the development of models to support the asset management process.  


The maintenance of the existing railway infrastructure, in particular its bridges, are a significant investment to Network Rail at £2 Billion every five years. Maximizing the benefits of those investments and, consequently, reducing the need for future spending is critical to ensure the medium and long term sustainability of the UK rail network.

In order to identify optimal policies, it is critical to be able to accurately model the deterioration process of bridges but also the impact of multiple maintenance actions. This will allow the prediction of short and medium term investment requirements, allow the comparison of different maintenance strategies at asset and network level, and support the identification of optimal maintenance strategies.

The Project: 

This project will deliver a novel approach to the modelling of deterioration and maintenance of bridges, considering each bridge as a system composed by multiple correlated elements (e.g, girders, piers, foundations). Considering the bridge as a system allows two significant enhancements to existing models: (i) define and optimise maintenance actions at a system (e.g. bridge) level, and (ii) account for the correlation between the deterioration of different elements within a bridge.

These models will be developed using the methodology co-developed by the University of Nottingham and Network Rail and thus will allow: (i) the incorporation of local environmental effects, and (ii) model the effect of multiple deterioration modes and the relation between the rate of deterioration and the observed condition.

The models will be calibrated to data collected by Network Rail using the methodology developed by the proponents. The output of the project will be a multi-element life-cycle modelling framework that is designed to be integrated with existing Network Rail Tier 1 models.

The funding available will cover UK PhD tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend for three and a half years, starting at £15,999 pa.  International students are welcome to apply with their own funding. The successful candidate will have (or will be about to receive) at least an upper second class degree in mathematics, engineering, physics or computer science with strong skills in modelling.

For further information, or to discuss this opportunity in more detail, please contact Dr Luis Neves

This post will remain open until filled.

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