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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

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

The aim of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment is to develop the infrastructure professionals of the future, equipped with a versatile and cross-disciplinary skill set to meet the most complex emerging challenges and contribute effectively to better infrastructure decision-making 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. This cross-disciplinary programme aims to address the major threats to infrastructure and turn them into opportunities. These include infrastructure resilience against technological opportunities and environmental causes; infrastructure resilience in a world of economic, social, political and cultural change; and infrastructure resilience to support urbanisation and demographic change.

The objectives of the course are to:

  • deliver a coherent approach to postgraduate research training in resilient infrastructure, balancing the conflicting objectives of specialisation and generalism, consistent with the Department of Engineering’s general engineering undergraduate education approach;
  • equip the graduates of the MRes course with the research skills and training to enable them to make a seamless transfer and an accelerated start to the PhD  programme;
  • develop and equip the MRes postgraduate students with relevant research skills rooted in a contextual framework that includes wider engineering, social, scientific and business-related disciplines linked to professional practice by producing graduates who combine a breadth of knowledge with the depth of specialist knowledge;
  • expose students to the wide range of industry-relevant research contexts, opportunities and challenges;
  • develop students’ personal, professional practice and commercial skills, including entrepreneurship;
  • expose the students to a range of complex, multi-sector, cross-disciplinary problems that face future infrastructure and built environment via the mini-projects; and
  • train the students in transferable communications, business and research skills.

The infrastructure research areas of the FIBE2 CDT are grouped into six high-level interconnected research themes (RT) and four high-level cross-cutting themes (CT) of research methodology expertise at Cambridge.

The research themes are: RT1 Advanced Infrastructure Materials; RT2 Rethinking Design and Construction; RT3: Digitised Civil Engineering; RT4: Whole-Life Performance; RT5: Built Environment; and RT6: Global Challenges.

The cross-cutting themes are: CT1 Emerging Technologies; CT2 Performance to Data to Knowledge; CT3 Research across Scales; and CT4 Risk and Uncertainty.

PhD topics will be formulated around research questions turning threats to infrastructure into opportunities. 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 resilient infrastructure research methods, experimental methods and theory within the context of future infrastructure and built environment;
  • challenges and trends in resilient 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 resilient 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.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

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. 15, 2022
Application deadline
May 16, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 1, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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