Exploiting Smart Contracts and Blockchain Technology: Blueprint for a new AEC Industry
PhDs and postgraduate research
Self-funded PhD students only
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Applications accepted all year round
Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project, to commence in October or February.
The work on this project will:
- The digital revolution rolls on, and the construction industry needs to be ready to embrace emerging technologies (i.e. blockchain).
- Use of blockchain technology and smart contracts is the future of data management and IoT in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC).
- Growing influence of the digital industry on the AEC industry, as well as smart cities/buildings’ thirst to exploit cutting-edge technologies to manage and operate assets are the leading debates at the time.
The UK Government published an industrial strategy called Construction 2025, stipulating global construction market growth of 70% by 2025, with the combative strategy of achieving 33% lower costs, 50% faster delivery, 50% lower emissions, and 50% improvement in exports.
Innovations such as Building Information Management (BIM) and Blockchain Technology continue to push the frontiers of the digital landscape. Both technologies have transformative abilities to revolutionise how information is created, exchanged, deposited and distributed.
BIM accentuates the capabilities of modelling and information management transpired through a series multifaceted dimensions, such as shared information modelling (3D), construction scheduling (4D), costing (5D), and asset information management (6D).
The BIM protocol is supported by a series of Public Available Specification (PAS) and British Standard (BS) documentation, highlighting the appropriate steps for nationwide adoption throughout the United Kingdom, with availability for global expansion.
Blockchain Technology (a branch of Distributed Ledger Technology), offers tamper proof logbook immutability for recording data; supports transaction transparency with customisable viewing and editable controls; allows for full information provenance; provides trust between trustless participants in a network through reliable background verifications; enables highly conducive automated payment protocols called smart contracts; and offers potential for a final repository for all BIM and Blockchain data.
All of this occurs without the requirement of a trusted third party to manage accounts, with security substantiated through consensus algorithms. The boundaries of blockchain are pushed further with the involvement of smart contracts, which are self-executing digital contracts translated in computer code.
BIM addresses all of the targets outline in the Construction 2025 document, while Blockchain addresses three problems stipulated in the Construction 2025, such lower cost, faster delivery, and improvement in exports. Both technologies are maturing in various degrees and have joint potential to streamline construction processes.
This research project will address the possibilities for merging the technologies of BIM and Blockchain to further expand the collaborative efforts of transformative and emerging systems.
Fees and funding
Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).
2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start)
PhD and MPhil
Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,500 p/a**
Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,250 p/a**
International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*
International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*
PhD by Publication
External candidates: £4,407*
Members of staff: £1,720
All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.
*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.
Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.
- 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 Construction or Computer related subjects.
- 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.
We’d welcome applications from candidates with the knowledge/experience of BIM and blockchain technologies. Java programming skills are required.
How to apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sepehr Abrishami (Sepehr.Abrishami@port.ac.uk) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.
When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Civil Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. 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.
When applying please quote project code: SCES5301021.