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Engineering (12)
A group of people speaking at the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

About the Construction Safety Research Alliance (CSRA)

Housed in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, the CSRA is a unique, industry-funded research group focused on construction safety. Our industry partners are some of the industry leaders in the North American construction industry such as Kiewit, Graham, Holder, Skanska, Quanta, Caterpillar, and many others. The CSRA vision is to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) in the construction industry through transformative research and defendable science.

The CSRA works directly with industry professionals to better understand industry needs and the most pressing challenges in the prevention of serious injuries and fatalities on construction jobsites. We establish industry-academic project teams to support empirical field-based research in real-world settings across North America. These project teams offer an opportunity for students to conduct relevant and impactful research directly with industry, and the ability to conduct research efficiently and effectively because of unprecedented access to data and collaborative advising.

Find out more

Recent projects have included:

  • Measuring the return on investment of safety interventions by conducting experiments to isolate impacts, and economic modeling to determine the extent to which the intervention positively impacts firm value.
  • Developing and testing valid protocols to measure the quality of key safety management activities and assess the extent to which quality of implementation impacts future performance.
  • Qualitative experiments to unpack incident investigation interviews and develop tools to combat bias in the information gathering process.
  • Predictive analytics using machine learning and other AI techniques to forecast whether workers are adequately protected against critical hazards based on business factors, project characteristics, and crew demographics.

Led by Professor Matt Hallowell, and supported by Dr. Fred Sherratt and Dr. Sid Bhandari, the CSRA Academic team includes world leaders in the research of safety within the construction industry. Between them, they have published over 250 peer-reviewed publications in the field of construction safety over the past 15 years. They have advised dozens of doctoral and masters students who have obtained advanced positions in both industry and academia.

The CSRA provides a unique opportunity for the right candidate. You will be working directly with industry on projects able to immediately bring impact and benefit to practice, under the supervision of world-class research faculty.

A picture of two people on a construction site.

PhD Fellowship Opportunities

Based at the University of Colorado campus at Boulder, CO, USA, this opportunity is open to both domestic and international students.

We are looking for someone with at minimum an undergraduate degree in civil engineering or equivalent from an institution of recognized standing and a grade average equivalent to 3.0 or higher. We are seeking candidates that are enthusiastic, curious, and keen to explore safety in construction practice.

On joining the CSRA, the successful candidate will be assigned to an industry-academic research project team to support with support from the CSRA faculty. Our research projects typically run for two to three years, giving candidates the opportunity to research different aspects of construction safety and work with a wide variety of industry colleagues.

Successful candidates will receive:

  • A monthly stipend of $2970.52.
  • Domestic and/or international travel opportunities.
  • Industry exposure and collaboration.
  • Select candidates may receive a fellowship bursary of up to $5,000 USD upon enrollment.

You will be based in Boulder, Colorado - a unique town right in the heart of America’s wild west. Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is best known for its rock formations and year-round outdoor recreation space. With sunny winters and warm summers to enjoy over 45,000 acres of open space and a vibrant downtown with bars, restaurants, live music, and shopping, Boulder has something to offer everyone. Boulder was ranked the fourth best place to live in the entire USA in the US News and World Report 2023.

A picture of the CSRA team.

What do our Students say?

“The CSRA offers the best PhD experience one could ask for: hard questions that matter, mentors that give you support and the courage to explore, a great team of like-minded peers, and an immersive collaboration experience with professionals from multiple industries with hands-on leadership and research opportunities.”

- Dr Elif Erkal, Senior Associate Exponent, CSRA Class of 2022.

“As a student, being part of the CSRA has inspired me to be better every day and develop into a confident researcher. I have had the opportunity to learn a variety of research skills and techniques and am thrilled to work with exceptionally talented and motivated people who care about using defendable science to make construction safer.”

- Arnaldo Bayona, PhD Student.

How to Apply

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, there is no deadline to apply. We are able to accept students in either fall or spring, visa requirements and timescales permitting.

For enquiries and to apply, please submit your university transcript, resume/CV and a one-page expression of interest to:

Dr. Fred Sherratt
CSRA Associate Director of Research

Register your interest for this PhD