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Postgraduate Admissions


This is a four-year (1+3 MRes/PhD) studentship funded through the Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2 CDT). The FIBE2 CDT aims to develop the next generation of infrastructure professionals who can create, shape and deliver the national vision for UK infrastructure, who will be 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. Further details can be found at

Project details: The project is funded in collaboration with National Highways. National Highways, formerly the Highways Agency and later Highways England, is a government-owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in England.

Road authorities and their supply chain (road stakeholders) have historically collected and generated a large variety of data throughout the life-cycle of all existing and under construction roads. At the same time, road stakeholders are increasingly realising that there is tremendous potential value to be gained by embracing Digital Twin - based information and asset management for the entirety of a road life-cycle. Yet, what happens to all the data collected and generated so far, as well as the data to be collected moving forward? Extracting usable information out of such data and fusing it in road Digital Twins is an unsolved challenge and one of the primary barriers for Digital Twins adoption in the transportation construction sector.

PhD Project Description: The project will focus on expressways only to maintain feasibility. The student will: a) Devise information retrieval method(s) to extract useful information from National Highways legacy model prioritised data of A-roads; b) Apply string metrics via fuzzy matching to devise information fusion method(s) into an expressway Digital Twin; c) Combine the above methods into a data enrichment framework; d) Use additional datasets provided by the Digital Roads initiative to validate the framework via establishing the corresponding ground truth outputs and benchmarking each step's output against its equivalent.

MRes/PhD Project Objectives:

  • Map the types, volumes and format of structured (database) and semi-structured (text) data provided by National Highways, measure their value/importance, and rank those to be fused in a priority list.
  • Develop a framework for information retrieval and fusion into road Digital Twins for the case of expressways.

The MRes Component: Use National Highways data and information requirements from the Digital Roads of the Future initiative to set priority measures; statistically evaluate available data to create a ranked priority list for the framework to be completed during the PhD.

PhD - Expected Outcomes, Contributions to Knowledge & Practice: This research will produce a prototype for the enrichment of expressway Digital Twins focusing on high priority information that provide the most information value to the resulting Digital Twin. This will set the foundations for encompassing existing data sources and associated processes into modern methods of working supported by Digital Twins, thus tear down one of the key adoption barriers.

For general enquiries, please email cdtcivil For project-specific enquiries please e-mail the supervisor Professor Ioannis Brilakis at or advisor Professor Mark Girolami at

Applicants should posses a Bachelor or Masters in any Engineering discipline, Computer Science, or Architecture. They should have some computing skills or experience and very good English language skills.

The FIBE2 CDT studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible students. Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at:

To apply for this studentship, candidates must apply through the University's Postgraduate Admissions application portal. The portal is at: and there is a £75 fee for PhD applications, with the title of the project quoted on the form and Professor Ioannis Brilakis identified as the potential supervisor.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

Key Information

Department of Engineering

Reference: NM29098

Dates and deadlines:

Friday, 19 November, 2021
Closing Date
Wednesday, 15 December, 2021