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Developing resilient healthcare facilities for better infection control

The design of a healthcare facility shall respond in a way to offer substantial protection to the healthcare workings, patients and visitors. Unfortunately, the present hospital design philosophy, which is based on an evidence-based design approach, cannot sufficiently consider the transmission characteristics of the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) which has led to serious hospital-acquired infection of the disease (i.e. COVID-19) around the world.

This project aims to look into the key factors governing healthcare-associated infections (or nosocomial infections) due to contaminated built environments, with emphasis on respiratory illnesses. Human factors such as crowd flow patterns on the epidemic dynamics will be considered through computer simulations. This will help to assess the efficiency of present infection control approaches adopted by the hospitals, allowing for the development of more resilient healthcare facilities in a bid to better infection control and prevention.

This project is supported by the ICE Research and Development Enabling Fund which provides support to develop new and innovative ideas designed to tackle problems in civil engineering design and construction.

Relevant reference reading:

  • S. Evans, E. Agnew, E. Vynnycky, J.V. Robotham, The impact of testing and infection prevention and control strategies on within-hospital transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in English hospitals, medRxiv, (2020) 2020.2005.2012.20095562.
  • ECDC, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: increased transmission in the EU/EEA and the UK - seventh update, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Stockholm, 2020.
  • Department of Health, Health Building Note 00-01: General design guidance for healthcare buildings, London, 2014.
  • Department of Health, Health Building Note 00-09: Infection control in the built environment, London, 2014.
  • N. van Doremalen, T. Bushmaker, D.H. Morris, M.G. Holbrook, A. Gamble, B.N. Williamson, A. Tamin, J.L. Harcourt, N.J. Thornburg, S.I. Gerber, J.O. Lloyd-Smith, E. de Wit, V.J. Munster, Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1, New England Journal of Medicine, 382 (2020) 1564-1567.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Bunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. 

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Kangkang Tang - Dr Kangkang Tang is a chartered civil and structural engineer (CEng MICE IStructE) and a senior lecturer leading the undergraduate civil engineering modules at Brunel University London. He is the course director of BEng Civil Engineering and BEng Civil Engineering with sustainablity.