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High Speed Railway Degradation Modelling - (ENG 1534)

   Faculty of Engineering

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  Prof J Andrews  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Department: Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering

Research Group: Resilience Engineering

Applications are invited for this 3.5 year PhD project, from suitably qualified graduates to work in the Resilience Engineering Research Group, based in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park. The University of Nottingham has worked with Network Rail, as its Strategic University Partner in Infrastructure Asset Management, for over 10 years and our Research Group specialises in the development of models to support the asset management process. 


High-speed railway infrastructure is a complex arrangement of systems and structures, which includes: track, switches, drainage, signalling, power supply and communications, in addition to the civil structures comprising earthworks, tunnels, bridges and stations.  As new high speed railways are built, it is important that plans are in place to ensure that they are sustainable and affordable so that elements can be renewed as they wear out or become obsolete due to new technologies. The funding for renewals is generated through a usage charge levied by the infrastructure owners on the train operating companies. However, should this charge be too little then necessary replacements will not take place, or, in the event that it be too much, the consequence is higher than necessary fares for passengers.

To be able to fix and justify the right charge requires advances in areas of engineering. It is necessary to understand how all the infrastructure elements degrade due to either the passage of time or use. This enables the estimation of when replacement is necessary, and can be achieved using modelling methods which include artificial intelligence (AI). For systems and structures made of many components, aging at different rates, there is the additional challenge of combining the component performance predictions to give the performance of the entity.

The Project:

This project is to develop and apply methods by which data, indicating the effects that time and usage have on the railway condition, can be used to predict the expected time that renewal will be necessary. This project has the potential for a significant impact, and the successful candidate will benefit from real-world industrial input to their work, and a full support and skills training network provided by the University of Nottingham Researcher Academy.

For further information, or to discuss this opportunity in more detail, please contact Prof John Andrews ()

This post will remain open until filled.

Funding Notes

The funding available will cover UK PhD tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend for three and a half years, starting at £16,062 pa. International students are welcome to apply with their own funding. The successful candidate will have (or will be about to receive) at least an upper second class degree in mathematics, engineering, physics or computer science with strong skills in modelling.

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