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Climate Change Impacts on Engineered Clay Structures

  • Full or part time
    Prof N Dixon
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, April 24, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application details

Reference number: ABCE19/Achilles
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2019
Closing date of advert: 24 April 2019
Interview date: w/c 7 May 2019

Primary supervisor: Dr Alister Smith
Secondary supervisors: Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi and Dr Tom Dijkstra

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
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In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering was ranked first for research environment in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning, with 95% of research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for its influence on society, the economy and policy. A key part of the School’s ethos is the extensive links with industry.

Full Project Detail

Are you interested in how climate change is impacting the infrastructure we all rely on in our daily lives? These critical infrastructures, including roads, railways, flood defences and pipelines, are built in or on the ground. There is growing evidence these soil structures are deteriorating due to seasonal weather cycles, leading to a reduction in performance of the assets and an increasing risk of failure. Importantly, our recent research indicates that rates of deterioration are expected to accelerate in the future due to climate change.

We are looking for a PhD student with a relevant science or engineering background to undertake research on weather-driven deterioration mechanisms of engineered clay structures. You will be joining a large team of researchers from a consortium of UK universities and stakeholder organisations that are delivering the EPSRC ACHILLES Programme (

This PhD project will focus on the deterioration mechanisms and behaviour of flood embankments. It will entail undertaking fieldwork to characterise and monitor a clay embankment and will use numerical modelling to investigate weather-driven deterioration mechanisms, including implications of a changing climate.

Find out more:
More information about the School can be found at:

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline. A relevant master’s degree and/or relevant employment experience will be an advantage.

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to UK/EU applicants. In order to qualify for a full award, all applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria including the minimum UK residency requirement

Contact details

For information about the research project, please contact:

Name: Prof. Neil Dixon / Dr Alister Smith
Email address: /
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 228 542 / +44 (0)1509 565 179

For information about the application process, please contact:

Name: Mr Berkeley Young
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222 611

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, please select Civil and Building Engineering.

Please quote reference number: ABCE19/Achilles

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3.5 years (42 months) starting in October 2019 and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777 (rising annually in line with Research Council recommendations) plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

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