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Climate resilience of interdependent transport and energy infrastructure informed by emerging digital technologies

The performance of transport and energy infrastructure is continuously challenged by multiple natural hazards, exacerbated by climate change. The frequency and intensity of disasters including flash floods, landslides, hurricanes or bushfires are increased, causing environmental, economic and societal impacts, in particular due to failures of ageing and over-utilised transport and power networks.

Currently, there is an urgent need for integrated toolkits to quantify the resilience of infrastructure and their interdependencies to climate change. More importantly, a vast of monitoring data and evidence, which is being made available daily to infrastructure owners remains unexploited. This includes terrestrial, e.g. data generated by cameras and mobile activity, and airborne data, e.g. InSAR, hyperspectral imaging, aerial photography etc.

This wealth of information provides reliable means for producing accurate and rapidly informed resilience assessments. This research aims at developing an integrated framework inclusive of lifecycle metrics (e.g. cost- and/or environment-based), for the monitoring-based quantification of resilience for transport and energy assets exposed to multiple natural hazards and climate change effects.

The framework will embrace: (i) the robustness of the assets (e.g. bridges, embankments, tunnels, electric power substations) to hazard actions based on new functionality and vulnerability models considering interdependencies, (ii) the rapidity of the recovery, based on expert elicitation and practical reinstatement and restoration models, (iii) the monitoring data related to the performance and capacity of the assets, to better inform the above models.

The new models will be encapsulated in a toolkit, which will be demonstrated through selected case studies in the UK using GIS tools.

This project is in support of all infrastructure management stages, i.e. prior, during and after multiple, cumulative and/or abrupt natural hazards (see Argyroudis et al., 2020; Achillopoulou et al., 2020), accounting for potential exacerbations of natural stressors due to adverse climatic deviations.

The research also contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for delivering climate-resilient infrastructure (SDG9) and sustainable industrialization, making the world safer from multiple hazards (SDG11), whilst adapting quickly and efficiently to the planet’s changing climate (SDG13).

Candidates for this project will likely have a background in civil and environmental engineering and/or surveying engineering and/or electrical engineering. Familiarity with climate change models and/or network modelling will be an advantage. Yet, adjustments can be made to tailor the project to students’ needs and interests. The lead supervisor will be Dr Sotirios Argyroudis, more information:

Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering

References

  • Argyroudis, SA. and Mitoulis, SA. (2021) 'Vulnerability of bridges to individual and multiple hazards- floods and earthquakes'. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 210. pp. 107564 - 107564. ISSN: 0951-8320
  • Mitoulis, SA., Argyroudis, S., Loli, M. and Boulent, I.(2021) 'Restoration models for quantifying flood resilience of bridges'. Engineering Structures, 238. pp. 1 - 17. ISSN: 0141-0296
  • Achillopoulou, DV., Mitoulis, SA., Argyroudis, SA. and Wang, Y. (2020) 'Monitoring of transport infrastructure exposed to multiple hazards: a roadmap for building resilience'. Science of the Total Environment, 746. pp. 141001 - 141001. ISSN: 0048-9697
  • Argyroudis, SA., Mitoulis, SA., Hofer, L., Zanini, MA., Tubaldi, E. and Frangopol, DM. (2020) 'Resilience assessment framework for critical infrastructure in a multi-hazard environment: Case study on transport assets'. Science of the Total Environment, 714. pp. 136854 - 136854. ISSN: 0048-9697
  • Smith, AW., Argyroudis, SA., Winter, MG. and Mitoulis, SA. (2021) 'Economic impact of road bridge functionality loss from a resilience perspective: Queensferry Crossing'. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Bridge Engineering, In press. pp. 1 - 11. ISSN: 1478-4637
  • Argyroudis, SA., Mitoulis, S., Winter, MG. and Kaynia, AM. (2019) 'Fragility of transport assets exposed to multiple hazards: State-of-the-art review toward infrastructural resilience'. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 191. pp. 106567 - 106567. ISSN: 0951-8320

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

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Sotirios Argyroudis - Dr Sotirios Argyroudis is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Infrastructure Engineering at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences at Brunel University London, since November 2020. He is leading the infrastructure risk and resilience research. From September 2017 to March 2020 he was working as a research fellow at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the University of Surrey, in the framework of a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship funded by the European Commission (TRANSRISK project). He co-founded the www.bridgeUkraine.org initiative, aiming at accelerating Ukraine's critical infrastructure recovery. He co-leads the www.infrastructuResilience.com, which is an initiative that strives to deliver infrastructure resiliency. After the completion of his fellowship, he has been appointed as a visiting Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey, UK. He had previously worked at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, as senior research and teaching staff (since 2006) and as a researcher (since 2001). He holds two degrees, one in Civil Engineering (MEng) and the second one in Geology (BSc), and a PhD in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. Sotirios has been working across international partnerships and has visited and/or seconded to world leading institutes such as Stanford University in USA, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), the Transportation Research Laboratory (TRL) in UK, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Italy, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Sotirios has over 20 years of experience in vulnerability, disaster risk and resilience assessment of critical infrastructure and urban systems exposed to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and ground movements. Whilst working in Aristotle University (Research Unit of Soil Dynamics and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering) he participated and won important national and European research projects (SYNER-G, STREST, REAKT, SAFELAND, SIBYL, LESSLOSS, RISK-UE, SRM-LIFE among others). In SYNER-G EC project, he acted as the project manager, supporting the Coordinator. In the framework of these projects, he delivered research reports and results as well as tailored seminars to stakeholders, owners and risk managers. He has also delivered CPD training seminars in the UK dealing with quantitative and qualitative risk analysis and resilience assessment of critical infrastructure. Sotirios is a member of the Centre for Flood Risk and Resilience and the Research Group of Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering at Brunel University. He supervised and co-ordinated several UG, MSc and PhD research students, delivered lectures and seminars on natural hazards and risk assessment. Sotirios authored over 120 project reports, research bids, scientific articles in high-impact journals, conferences and book chapters with over 1,700 citations (h-index 23, GoogleScholar). He acts as a reviewer for national research funds such as the EPSRC and the European Commission, and for several international scientific journals. He is Vice-Chair of the IABSE Task Group 1.8 on ‘Design requirements for infrastructure resilience’ and member of the EAEE Working Group 13 on ‘Seismic assessment, design and resilience of industrial facilities’.

Related Research Group(s)

Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering

Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering - Delivering a new understanding of our geo-environment and critical infrastructure in diverse ecosystems, for predicting and preventing catastrophic failure and responding to the need for decarbonisation and energy security.