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  Resilient schools for a sustainable development of low- and middle-income countries

   Cardiff School of Engineering

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  Dr Viviana Novelli  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project


3 years full time. Available start dates are: 1st October 2021, or 1st January 2022, or 1st March 2022.

Nearly 40 million children in low- and middle-income countries a year have their education interrupted by natural disasters. This is due to catastrophic failures and severe damage occurring on non-engineered schools built with poor materials and limited quality controls, resulting highly vulnerable to natural threats such as earthquakes, climate changes, rainfalls, and windstorms. To assess and reduce the multi-hazard risk and enhance the environmental pressures on children and therefore on local communities, the successful PHD student will design innovative engineering solutions to create sustainable and resilient school buildings. Fieldwork, experiments, and advanced modelling will ensure the relevance of proposed strategies which will be identified to increase preparedness in the educational infrastructures and inform local stakeholders on the best low-cost construction practise for safer schools. The successful candidate will be part of the Materials 4 Life (M4L) team, a vibrant research group with national and international links. The successful PHD student will be host by Cardiff University, which offers an excellent research facility and an outstanding international ecosystem of both training and development opportunities. The PhD student will receive a guidance on the existing techniques and approaches used for the disaster risk reduction and a cross-disciplinary support from School of Engineering, whilst obtaining a specialised knowledge and professional skills in multi-disciplinary fields spanning from sustainable/environmental development to disaster resilience engineering. 

Candidates should hold a good undergraduate degree (first or upper second-class honours degree) or an MSc degree in an area of Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or other relevant area. A strong background in structural analysis, fundamental mathematical and physical sciences is required. Good programming skills in MATLAB or similar. Experience of experiments and numerical modelling is also desirable. Knowledge in uncertainty quantification, earthquake engineering and structural masonry is of advantage but not mandatory. Applicants should also be enthusiastic, self-motivated, and able to carry out research independently.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent).

Contact for further information

[Email Address Removed]

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( ) including;

  • an upload of your CV
  • a personal statement/covering letter
  • two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school)
  • Current academic transcripts

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of:

1st October 2021, or 1st January 2022, or 1st March 2022.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for the advertised project reference VN1-SF-2021

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

This opportunity is available to home or international candidates.

Where will I study?

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