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UKRI GCRF Tomorrow’s Cities hub PhD project: Passive seismology for seismic hazard site characterisation and uncertainty quantification in rapidly urbanising environments

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  • Full or part time
    Prof John McCloskey
    Dr Mark Naylor
    Dr A Curtis
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Tomorrow’s Cities is the UKRI GCRF Urban Disaster Risk Hub – a 5-year £20m global interdisciplinary research hub. Led by collaborations if local experts and practitioners based in four rapidly developing and multi-hazard exposed cities – Quito, Istanbul, Nairobi and Kathmandu – and supported by an international network of specialists, our mission is to reduce disaster risk for the poor in tomorrow’s cities.

We will have a cohort of researchers starting in September 2020 working together on projects linked to Tomorrow’s Cities. You can now apply for the following project: Passive seismology for seismic hazard site characterisation and uncertainty quantification in rapidly urbanising environments

You will use passive seismology to better characterise local site response to seismic waves at high resolution. This will inform the estimation of earthquake risk at the scale of urban development.
Project background
You will participate in the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Hub “Tomorrow’s Cities” ( targeting disaster risk reduction in rapidly urbanising environments, led by Prof John McCloskey. This £20M, 5-year research hub is founded on the principle that it is possible for the development of new urban environments to be undertaken in a risk sensitive manner. This PhD will contribute to the application of passive seismology to inform risk sensitive development in Istanbul and Kathmandu. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an ambitious research programme and global science partnership.

You will work closely with an Edinburgh based PDRA in the application of passive seismology for site characterisation and seismic hazard assessment in rapidly urbanising regions around Istanbul and Kathmandu which are planned for development in the near future. In particular, you will drill down on specific aspects of the process to better constrain and quantify key uncertainties as they emerge during the project. This will likely include how to design the site specific passive seismic surveys to maximise critical information, and the processing and analysis of data from the surveys in Istanbul and Kathmandu.

Research questions
How can we most effectively use passive seismic imaging to constrain seismic hazard at high resolution?
How should we design the seismic surveys for rapidly urbanising environments?
How do we assimilate prior basin models with data derived from passive seismic surveys?
How can we quantify key uncertainties?
More detailed site specific questions will be developed in conjunction with project partners in Turkey and Nepal as part of the project.

The core of the project will be various aspects of seismic hazard assessment using passive seismology. At the same time, the PhD is dependent upon the data collected during the seismic surveys in Istanbul and Kathmandu, and to the project will involve in the context of the wider project.

At the point the PhD starts, the Istanbul seismic survey will already be underway so there will be data to work with early in the project. Within the 1st year of the PhD, the survey will move from Istanbul to Kathmandu. There will be opportunities for you to participate in the seismic survey work.

Funding Notes

Worldwide applicants welcome. Fully funded studentships for 3.5 years with stipend at UKRI rate and fees (Home or Overseas) covered as well as research expenses.


Ashraf Adly, Valerio Poggi, Donat Fäh, Awad Hassoup, Awad Omran, Combining active and passive seismic methods for the characterization of urban sites in Cairo, Egypt, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 210, Issue 1, July 2017, Pages 428–442,

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