Research Fellow in Geotechnical Engineering and Asset Management

Leeds, United Kingdom
£33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
13 Nov 2019
End of advertisement period
11 Dec 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for a new challenge? Do you have expertise in the analysis and assessment of embankments and cuttings? Do you want to join an expanding geotechnical research team at the University of Leeds?

Infrastructure is fundamental to our economy and society. Geotechnical assets, of which there are over 100,000 km in the UK, are a major component of this infrastructure and fundamental to the delivery of critical services over long distances (e.g. road & railway earthworks, pipeline bedding, flood protection structures). However, failure is still commonplace; the costs are high; and our vulnerability to these failures is significant. For example, in 2015 there were 143 earthwork failures on the GB rail network; the cost of repairing these is 10 times greater under emergency conditions than when carrying out planned works; and if we get it wrong train derailments may occur.Despite this, the exact causes and timing of failures are poorly understood, and therefore difficult to mitigate. This leads to unanticipated failures, which cause severe disruption and damage reputations. These challenges will be exacerbated by future climate change and trends to use geotechnical assets in higher load bearing, higher frequency patterns, with reduced timescales for maintenance.

At the University of Leeds we are championing research into our infrastructure and cities, with expertise in climate resilience of infrastructure and high speed rail in particular. We are looking for a geotechnical engineer to join our team working on the resilience of geotechnical infrastructure assets.

We are a partner in the ACHILLES (Assessment, Costing and enHancement of long lIfe, Long Linear assEtS) programme grant, with a vision for the UK’s infrastructure to deliver consistent, affordable and safe services, underpinned by intelligent design, management and maintenance. The programme aims to:

  1. Understand deterioration of engineered soils;
  2. Link deterioration to performance over a range of spatial and temporal scales;
  3. Systematically upscale process modelling from material to asset to network;
  4. Enable sensor technologies for deterioration characterisation and monitoring;
  5. Understand scientific value of data derived and status of uncertainty and heterogeneity across all scales; and
  6. Integrate outputs into design and decision-making.

As part of that programme we are seeking to appoint a geotechnical researcher to work alongside Dr Fleur Loveridge to deliver aspects of the forecasting and decision support elements of the research programme. In particular you will lead research in:

  • Understanding the effect of heterogeneity on earthwork behaviour at different scales, and how this relates to uncertainty in performance at the network scale;
  • The accuracy and appropriateness of earthworks asset data, including what is absent and the quantification of the benefits of better data;
  • How different intervention measures can be used to reduce the rate of earthworks deterioration and how this should be measured and monitored;
  • Translation of research into design and asset management guidance to aid decision making.

The research programme is multidisciplinary across multiple institutions and you will also be required to work with a range of collaborators including in the areas of climate science, statistical analysis, infrastructure systems and economic modelling. 

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Fleur Loveridge, University Academic Fellow

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 2248 or email: 

Further information

The Schools in the Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences are proud to have been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze or Silver Award from the Equality Challenge Unit, the national body that promotes equality in the higher education sector. Our equality and inclusion webpage provides more information.

Location:     Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:     Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School/Institute:     School of Civil Engineering
Category:     Research
Grade:     Grade 7
Salary:     £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Due to funding restrictions, an appointment will not be made above £35,845
Post Type:     Full Time
Contract Type:     Fixed Term (Up to 24 months, available from the end of January 2020, to end by 31 December 2022)
Release Date:     Tuesday 12 November 2019
Closing Date:     Wednesday 11 December 2019
Interview Date:     To be confirmed
Downloads:     Candidate Brief

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