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PhD Research Project

Liveable Cities: Transforming the Engineering of Cities for Global and Societal Wellbeing

More Info

Institution Location

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No more applications being accepted
Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

A bursaried PhD studentship is being offered, creating an exciting opportunity to study alongside an EPSRC-funded research project — Liveable Cities: Transforming the Engineering of Cities for Global and Societal Wellbeing (see
Liveable Cities is a multi-disciplinary project, bringing together researchers from a wide range of disciplines—social science, engineering, geography, design, business management, environmental science and urban studies. It consists of five research strands (termed Research Challenges) addressing the following questions:

1. How can one undertake an urban analysis clustered to allow cities to be viewed through an Environmental Lens, a Social Lens and an Economy & Governance Lens, and then integrated to combine all relevant disciplines and cover the complete spread of perspectives?
2. How do we ensure that radical engineering solutions take into account the human dimensions of living and working in a city? How do we assess quality of life, wellbeing and citizen aspirations, and translate them into design criteria for transforming the engineering of cities? How can our understanding of human and organisational aspirations and behaviour inform engineering solutions to deliver low carbon living?
3. How do we address energy consumption to meet low carbon targets? How do we address infrastructure „lock in‟ to improve the carbon performance of the urban environment? How do we engender and embed low carbon pathways and engineering solutions for demand reduction and power generation in cities?
4. How to transform the engineering process through radical revisioning of the world and radicalising the engineering approach to shift solutions from the mundane „what we can do now‟ to the extraordinary „what we will do then‟.
5. How do we integrate the outcomes of Research Challenges1-4 to form an engineering strategy and provide a pathway to implementation, thus embracing finance, policy, regulation and governance?

The ideal candidate will wish to frame their PhD studies to complement the issues being addressed by the Liveable Cities project, including issues related to sustainability, carbon reduction and the built environment including engineering-focussed drivers (eg. energy, waste and water); the process of urban design and development including associated tensions and trade-offs especially in relation to urban sustainability; and toolkits related to the provision of low carbon urban environments (e.g. carbon footprinting, ecological footprinting, material flow analysis, lifecycle analysis, Eurostat) The candidate should be seeking a PhD in civil engineering or similar.

Informal enquiries can be made to Joanne Leach via email at:

Funding Notes:

The total award is £3,732 fees plus £13,590 stipend.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 18.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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