Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October 2021

Closing date

4 May 2021 (12.00pm GMT)

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only. Please see the Civil Engineering Postgraduate Research Degree page for further opportunities. 

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2021. 

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Stephanie Barnett, Dr Malcolm Whitworth (School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences) and Dr Lee Woods.

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available; these cover tuition fees at the UK rate for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/22). Bursary recipients will also receive a £1,500 p.a. for project costs/consumables. 

The work on this project could involve

  • Analytical modelling
  • Geographical information systems

This project will assess the level of risk to concrete structures posed by climate change on a national and global scale, providing the knowledge needed to develop strategies to protect existing structures from the effects of climate change as well as inform the future design of concrete structures.  The project will assess the risk of increased rates of carbonation-induced corrosion in concrete structures as a consequence of predicted climate change. It will highlight the conditions and geographical locations where risk is significant enough for corrosion damage to occur within designed service life.

This will be achieved through the following objectives: 

1. To predict the influence of CO2 concentration, temperature and humidity on carbonation rates in concrete and carbonation-induced corrosion initiation times.

2. To produce geospatial maps of risk nationally and globally.

3. To assess the impact of the research on design of future structures.

The project will be based around computational predictions of carbonation using available data on climate change scenarios.  Carbonation-induced corrosion will be the focus of the project since it is more directly affected by climate change and is more likely to be of global significance than other deterioration mechanisms in concrete. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software will be employed in the research.  Key variables will be the concrete material properties (primarily permeability) along with CO2 concentrations, temperature and humidity levels. To account for uncertainties in climate change predictions, GIS models will be developed for a number of different emissions scenarios.

The student will develop skills and knowledge in GIS, materials degradation and climate change science applicable to a wide variety of industries and academic disciplines. 

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You’ll need a 2.1 or higher first degree in geography, materials science or engineering and a high level of computing expertise. Knowledge of geographical information systems software would be highly beneficial but training can be provided.

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Stephanie Barnett ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SCES5900521 when applying.