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  Flexible Framing for Robust and Efficient Steel Construction in Seismic Regions


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Thursday, August 22, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Dr. Ahmed Elkady

Project description

Flexible framing involves flexible steel connections and composite steel-concrete decks that are cheap to fabricate and erect. They are abundantly used in construction worldwide in conventional and light-weight structures. Past research showed that these flexible systems possess an appreciable stiffness, strength, and ductility under different loading scenarios. As such, it has been suggested that they can potentially be used directly in seismic regions.

In this project, you will try to answer the following questions: Can we use flexible connections and systems in seismic regions instead of rigid connections? and what are the potential advantages and limitations? This research will involve state-of-the-art data-driven approaches, numerical modelling techniques, structural analysis, and loss quantification methodologies to investigate the robustness of flexible steel frames under earthquake excitations. You will also take part in complementary laboratory work to further our understanding of the cyclic behaviour of flexible connection components.

You will be situated in the new Boldrewood Innovation Campus, home of the cutting-edge UKCRIC National Infrastructure Laboratory. You will join the Infrastructure Research Group, providing you the opportunity to become part of a team of diverse and world-leading researchers. The project will enable you to develop your engineering research, teaching, and communication skills while tackling an important industry-driven problem. The outcomes of this project are expected to inform international design codes and to lead to efficient and optimized steel designs.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Ahmed Elkady, Infrastructure Research Group, Email: .

Entry Requirements

A First class or high 2:1 Degree in Civil Engineering with enthusiasm for structural engineering and numerical methods (analysis and coding).

A skilled international student with an MSc or MEng degree (high GPA) and relevant experience with steel structural research.

Key skills: Structural design; numerical modelling; finite element modelling; coding; problems solving, critical thinking; multi-tasking.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2024 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK and International students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £18,198 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

For international students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £18,198 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years (subject to Rayleigh studentship allocation). 

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Ahmed Elkady

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae (2 page maximum)

Degree Transcripts to date

Applicant statement (1 page summary of the applicant’s track record and the reasons for their interest in the advertised research project)

For further information please contact:


Engineering (12) Mathematics (25)

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