Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

February and October

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship, to commence in February or October.

This PhD involves the optimisation of structural response and seismic behaviour through iterative multi-parametric design-enabling tools, and is supervised by Dr Nikos Nanos and Dr Mehdi Rouholamin.

Thanks to advancements in generative design, software algorithms and robotic construction, our current processes will change in the next few years.

You'll make use of new computational tools and multi-parametric design and analysis software, giving you the opportunity to further explore potential structural response optimisation strategies. This project aims at exploring the suitability and applicability of multi-parametric design tools in the design and analysis of structures.

The work will include:

  • use of Rhino design software, the Grasshopper plugin and the DIANA FEA solver
  • assessing structures as per their structural response in terms of established damage indices as well as residual structural capacity and vulnerability

The project will make use of the Rhino design software and the Grasshopper plugin and the DIANA FEA solver as a base.

The examined structures will be assessed as per their structural response - both in terms of established damage indices, and the residual structural capacity and vulnerability. This will then inform an iterative progressing and refining process of existing design parameters.

On completion of the project, you'll have a deep knowledge in procedurally-generated design, and you'll have created the tools necessary to set up and oversee such methods for academic research and applied engineering.

If successful, you'll become part of a dynamic research team within the Structures team of the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, able to call on the existing knowledge of the experienced and vibrant team of structural engineering academics.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

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).

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

This project requires candidates with a suitable honours degree (or equivalent) in Civil Engineering and would be suitable for a candidate who has conducted prior research and work in structural analysis, with good knowledge of earthquake engineering and structural dynamics. A good coding/scripting background is highly desirable.

You'll need a strong drive to excel as a researcher, coupled with disciplined work habits. Training will be offered on FEM software including DIANA. A suitable MSc/MPhil/MEng degree with background in computer modelling is also desirable, or a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent). This project is suitable for both home/EU and or International students.

Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Nikos Nanos (, Dr David Begg ( and Dr Laurie Clough (, quoting both the project code ACES4791020 and the project title.

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.