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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2)


This October, we were very happy to welcome 10 new students in Cohort 3 joining the FIBE family. Now it is nearly the end of their first term, we have conducted a survey to find out what they are doing recently with their research. Let's have a look!

El-Amin Ahmed

El-Amin is supervised by Julian Allwood and is sponsored by MTC. His research project is about Net Zero Carbon Bridges: How can we design and build bridges to have zero emissions by 2050?

El-Amin has conducted the following for his desktop study:

El-Amin looked at where the emissions of bridges come from primarily by looking at the current materials used. El-Amin is also looking and problems with bridges on a systems level such as poor data collection and what causes bridges to fail.

Before joining FIBE, El-Amin’s master’s thesis was on identifying the properties of masonry using the virtual fields method which takes data from digital image correlation and combines it with the principles of virtual work. he has also done a research internship looking at the method of manufacturing models of metamaterials using 3D printing techniques.

Alice Bennett

Alice Bennett works with André Cabrera Serrenho and is sponsored by BP and Aveva. Her research topic is about Prioritising interventions for the design and operations of energy infrastructure

In this term, Alice conducts the following for his desktop study:

The desktop study is looking at three main sections:

  • the targets that have been set by the energy industry towards Net Zero, and how these compare to other organisations expectations,
  • analysis of existing LCA of fossil fuel infrastructure and renewables 
  • what lock-in looks like for energy infrastructure and how it can be avoided

The aim is to find the current gaps in knowledge and areas with the most potential for impact so that her research can benefit BP's and Aveva's decision making processes in the future.

Jamie Clarkson

Jamie Clarkson worked with Professor Keith Seffen and is sponsored by Structuremode. His PhD topic is about Tape springs for deployable & reconfigurable structures.

In this term, Jamie conducts the following for his desktop study:

The desktop study is looking at the three main historical studies on tape springs, specifically the moment-curvature equations they derive, and how they compare. The aim is to get more familiar with shell structure mechanics and begin to think of areas for investigation in the MRes project.

Before joining FIBE, Jamie did a master project on the structural mechanics of a 1km tall pre-stressed hyperboloid cable-net tower (for use as a solar updraft tower as part of a GHG removal system), supervised by Professor Chris Burgoyne. This involved deriving analytical solutions and validating them with a dynamic relaxation computational model, both for the lateral stiffness of the tower and the buckling of the central mast. In his fourth year, Jamie received the Archibald Denny university prize for greatest distinction in the theory of structures, along with various college prizes throughout his undergraduate degree. I also received the 2017 Higgs prize for physics from the Scottish Government.

Han Ding

Han Ding is supervised by Prof. Abir Al-Tabbaa and sponsored by McAuliffe Civil Engineering Ltd. Han is working on Exploring reuse potentials of relevant waste streams in the UK for the development of sustainable binders in land remediation and regeneration. 

Han has conducted the following for his desktop study.

The desktop study project is about exploring the availability of relevant waste streams and variables in terms of their sourcing, composition, volumes and availability. This will form the ground base and provide necessary information for his PhD project. This desktop study will be closely collaborating with industrial sponsors, getting real project data, mapping out different waste streams, and incorporating reusing principles identified from real data to explore the reuse potential of waste streams.

Before joining Cambridge Han has done the following research work: 

1. Investigate potential correlations between city economic performance and infrastructure indicators, incl. roads, railways etc., of metropolitan city-regions within Northern Powerhouse; Research work was shortlisted to be the student research poster of 2016 in Sheffield and was invited to present at the house of parliament in 2017.

2. Predicting the swelling behaviour of compacted bentonite using FE approach and comparing it with experimental data to evaluate the newly developed double-structure constitutive model for describing expansive clay.

3. Conducting extensive literature review in a relevant field, summarising and using Matlab to form different analytical models for evaluating vegetation resistance in the vegetated channel.

Shagun Garg

Shagun Garg is supervised by Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran and sponsored by BP. His project is on Remote Sensing for monitoring Sustainable development Goals.

In this term, Shagun conducts the following for his desktop study:

The desktop study is focused on exploring the different types of Data Fusion techniques to monitor dynamic behaviours that affect sustainable development goals. Shagun is specifically interested in developing techniques to combine information from satellite images, ground measurements, and social media for better monitoring. This project is in line with BP’s mission to become a net-zero company by 2050.

Shagun Garg has received a Vice-Chancellor scholarship and BP award to pursue PhD at the University of Cambridge. In 2019, He was awarded DAAD--KOSPIE scholarship for his master’s thesis on ‘Groundwater extraction induced Land Subsidence for Delhi NCR’. Prior to that, Shagun Garg has received scholarships from the Foundation for excellence, the Ministry of HigherEducation - Government of India, and the Resonance fellowship.

Haritha Jayasinghe

Haritha Jayasinghe works with Prof. Ioannis Brilakis and is sponsored by BP and AVEVA. His Project is on Digitizing Industrial Facilities

In this term, Haritha conducts the following for his desktop study:

The desktop study is focused on digitizing industrial facilities. Specifically, it explores the creation of digital twins of industrial assets by modelling their geometry, condition, composition etc. This is mainly achieved through point cloud processing and computer vision. Such digital twins assist in optimizing the operation of industrial facilities, which aligns with BP's goals to optimize their facilities and reduce their carbon impact. In addition, the research also aligns with AVEVA's role as a provider of digitization tools for industrial use.

Percy Lam

Percy Lam works with Prof. Ioannis Brilakis and is sponsored by Costain and Trimble. Percy is working on Digital twin for highways.

In this term, Percy conducts the following for his desktop study:

Percy works on the Existing methods of constructing a digital model for road networks, current research directions in modelling roads and finding gaps of knowledge for his research. Current practice relies on manual work and his research will focus on automation in model construction, which is also his research interest.

Max Langtry

Max works with Professor Ruchi Choudhary and is sponsored by BP and Bentley Systems. Max PhD topic is on renewable energy systems optimisation, specifically focusing on the inclusion of nonlinear network dynamics and stochasticity in system development optimisation problems.

In this term, Max conducts the following for his desktop study:

A critique of state-of-the-art energy systems modelling and optimisation tools. The relevance to the PhD research is to identify the gaps in the literature and areas for future research, specifically, it focuses on the current techniques for introducing nonlinearity and stochasticity into energy systems modelling and optimisation and their deficiencies.

Before joining FIBE, in Max master’s project, he developed a technique for optimising the siting of energy storage assets in a fully renewable future UK power system via a multi-period optimal power flow problem formulation. It used a rank relaxation approach which was formulated as a semi-definite program and proved conditions for exactness of the relaxation solution. It is available at his personal website: -

Outside of Cambridge, Max is also a member of the PowerSwarm energy systems network, a group of stakeholders in energy systems transitions across academia, industry, and government -

James Walsh

James Walsh is supervised by Dr Cyrille Dunant. He is sponsored by AVEVA. He is working on Early-stage design decisions for industrial installations.

In this term, James conducts the following for his desktop study:

Beginning with formalisms of chemical installation plants. Highly relevant as a case study for large scale industrial applications and directly relevant to AVEVA as a provider of mainstream software in this field.

James has participated in Project Odysseus, UrbanAir, before joining FIBE.

Outside of Cambridge, is also a data Science mentor for African upskilling charity,

Callum White

Callum White works with Professor Janet Lees and Dr Kristen MacAskill and is sponsored by Costain. Callum research topic is on Sustainable Digital Concrete.

In this term, Callum conducts the following for his desktop study:

The desktop study will evaluate the current level of digitalisation of construction and large-scale concrete activity as well as the scope for incorporation of technology improvements. It will also assess how information is shared along the stakeholder chain, Costain are inputting by allowing access to their supply chain to understand how key information points are developed.

Prior to coming to Cambridge, Callum White worked as a structural engineering consultant, which included acting asthe design engineer for the Canary Wharf Group's first offsite modular building.

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