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Exploiting Smart Contracts and Blockchain Technology: Blueprint for a new AEC Industry

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Abrishami
    Prof M Gaterell
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2019.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Sepehr Abrishami and Professor Mark Gaterell.

The work on this project will:
address the possibilities for merging the technologies of BIM and Blockchain to further expand the collaborative efforts of transformative and emerging systems.

Project description

The UK Government published an industrial strategy called Construction 2025, stipulating global construction market growth of 70% by 2025, with the combative strategy of achieving 33% lower costs, 50% faster delivery, 50% lower emissions, and 50% improvement in exports. Innovations such as Building Information Management (BIM) and Blockchain Technology continue to push the frontiers of the digital landscape. Both technologies have transformative abilities to revolutionise how information is created, exchanged, deposited and distributed. BIM accentuates the capabilities of modelling and information management transpired through a series multifaceted dimensions, such as shared information modelling (3D), construction scheduling (4D), costing (5D), and asset information management (6D). The BIM protocol is supported by a series of Public Available Specification (PAS) and British Standard (BS) documentation, highlighting the appropriate steps for nationwide adoption throughout the United Kingdom, with availability for global expansion. Blockchain Technology (a branch of Distributed Ledger Technology), offers tamper proof logbook immutability for recording data, supports transaction transparency with customisable viewing and editable controls, allows for full information provenance, provides trust between trustless participants in a network through reliable background verifications, enables highly conducive automated payment protocols called smart contracts, offers potential for a final repository for all BIM and Blockchain data. All of which occurs without the requirement of a trusted third party to manage accounts, with security substantiated through consensus algorithms. The boundaries of blockchain are pushed further with the involvement of smart contracts, which are self-executing digital contracts translated in computer code. BIM addresses all of the targets outline in the Construction 2025 document, while Blockchain addresses three problems stipulated in the Construction 2025, such lower cost, faster delivery, and improvement in exports. Both technologies are maturing in various degrees and have joint potential to streamline construction processes. This research project will address the possibilities for merging the technologies of BIM and Blockchain to further expand the collaborative efforts of transformative and emerging systems.

Entry Requirements

General admissions criteria
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class
or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Construction or Computer related subjects. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements
We’d welcome applications from candidates with the knowledge/experience of BIM and blockchain technologies. Java programming skills are required.

How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sepehr Abrishami ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Civil Engineering and Surveying’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ACES4680219 when applying.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant in line with the RCUK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19). The Faculty of Technology may fund project costs/consumables up to £1,500 p.a.

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