Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October and February

Closing date

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 PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, and will be supervised by Dr Stephanie Barnett, Dr Ken Awinda and Dr Brett Martinson.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Life cycle assessment
  • Structural design, including use of computer modelling for design
  • Laboratory experiments

This project will evaluate the potential for fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) to reduce embodied energy and CO2 emissions of concrete structures.  The project will link together materials performance, structural design and life cycle assessment (LCA) to assess the embodied environmental impact of FRC structures compared with normal reinforced concrete.  This integrated approach will facilitate the development of the tools necessary for future built assets to be designed with due regard to their impact on the global climate.

A range of structural elements (slabs and beams) will be designed using existing design codes and guidelines.  Loading requirements, span, concrete strength and fibre reinforcement will be used as variables.  Increased service life requirements, such as the 100-120 years now being specified for major infrastructure projects will also be included in this design phase.  

The designs will then be tested for greenhouse gas impact and embodied energy using appropriate UK (PAS2050) and international standards (EN15804). This will enable the quantification of carbon savings for representative structural elements.  Suitable functional units based on structural performance will be developed, to replace the more common but unsuitable mass units often quoted in texts. Life-cycle assessment will then be carried out incorporating cradle to grave boundaries including challenges in recycling FRC. 

A hierarchy of sources of inventory information ranging from primary data from industrial partners to databases such as the Inventory of Carbon and Energy or Ecoinvent will be used in the analysis.  Carbon footprints of elements designed to existing guidelines as well as elements designed for improved service life will be compared to assess the carbon, energy and material saving potential of fibre reinforced concrete structures.

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.

Bench fees

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.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You'll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering or a related 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 will ideally have experience of applying structural design codes, fibre reinforced concrete or life cycle assessment.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Stephanie Barnett at 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.  An extended statement as to how you might address the proposal would be welcomed.

Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code  SCES4680220 when applying.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now

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