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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Future Infrastructure and Built Environment is no longer accepting new applications.

In close partnership with our industry partners, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment (FIBE3 CDT) will develop the next generation of PhD graduates to champion the urgent, complex, inter-connected and cross-disciplinary transition to net zero infrastructure. We will guide and help them to fulfill their potential by equipping them with the knowledge, skills and qualities to collaboratively engineer the infrastructure that will unlock net zero through conducting world-class, cutting-edge and user-need focused cohort-based training and research to lead the design and implementation of the infrastructure net zero agenda in the UK.

This four-year course comprises an initial MRes year, followed by a three-year PhD programme. Continuation on to the PhD is conditional on satisfactory performance in the MRes year. Full funding is available for eligible applicants.

The objectives of the course are to:

  1. generate a live and dynamic FIBE3 Roadmap that will act as the umbrella to guide all the CDT activities and its evolution and expansion;
  2. to deliver highly relevant cohort-based training;
  3. co-train, with our industry partners, highly skilled doctoral students to be net zero infrastructure champions who can maximise their impact and catalyse change;
  4. capitalise on our current strong partnerships with industry as well as establish novel industry-academia partnerships as a catalyst to unlock net zero infrastructure;
  5. build upon existing research strengths and strategic industry investments and embed the FIBE3 CDT firmly within those multi-disciplinary user-focused initiatives relevant to net zero infrastructure;
  6. deliver highly relevant inspirational training on RRI, Trusted Research, Environmental Sustainability and EDI;
  7. engage with the wider academic community to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange;
  8. expand our dynamic networks through our industry partners, CDT alumni, academic collaborators and local communities with active engagement plans in delivering the FIBE3 CDT activities.

Our goal is to equip emerging talents from diverse academic and social backgrounds with the skills, knowledge and qualities to engineer the infrastructure needed to unlock net zero, including technological, environmental, economic, social and demographic challenges. Achievable outcomes will include a dynamic roadmap for the infrastructure that unlocks net zero, cohort-based doctoral student training with immersive industry experience, a CDT which is firmly embedded within existing net zero research initiatives, and expanded networks and outward-facing education.

PhD topics will be centred around four thematic enablers: (1) existing and disruptive/new technologies, (2) radical circularity and whole life approach, (3) AI-driven digitalisation and data, and (4) risk-based systems thinking and connectivity. PhD project topics will be advertised in advance and allocated at the interview stage.

Learning Outcomes

The first year of this programme, the MRes in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment, has training and research elements. Graduates of the MRes course will have developed skills and understanding in the following broad areas:

  • the fundamentals of net-zero infrastructure research methods, experimental methods and theory within the context of future infrastructure and built environment;
  • challenges and trends in net-zero infrastructure;
  • cross-disciplinary aspects of infrastructure engineering problems, including knowledge of research and methods in inter-related disciplines (eg civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, manufacturing and information engineering; architecture; computer science; land economy; management and business; the physical sciences; the social sciences);
  • developing a personalised development plan that will maximise the benefit of the MRes year towards the PhD study;
  • producing a detailed PhD proposal, following a topic selection at the application stage;
  • teamwork, through cohort-based projects;
  • academic research skills gained through practical experience engaging in mini-projects;
  • external exposure via strong links with industry, including secondments as well as potential secondments to international academic partner centres;
  • business practice and tools; and
  • technology transfer and exploitation.

By the end of the PhD, successful students will have produced original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in the area of net-zero infrastructure.


All students who pass the MRes year will proceed to study for the PhD if they have demonstrated adequate research potential (such potential is normally demonstrated through the MRes research project and by passing the MRes degree). Note that, as for all Cambridge PhDs, the first year of the PhD (the year after the MRes) is still probationary and students will be required to pass a first-year assessment.

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Engineering

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
June 2, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

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