PhD Studentship in Geotechnical Engineering, “Seismic Liquefaction of Mine Tailings”. University College London, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic engineering United Kingdom

PhD Studentship in Geotechnical Engineering, “Seismic Liquefaction of Mine Tailings”. , - Ref:1651743


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UCL Department / DivisionCivil, Environmental & Geomatic engineering

Duration of Studentship 3 years

Stipend £16,533 per annum plus fees

Vacancy Information


UCL’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering invite applications for a PhD studentship in Geotechnical Engineering.

Studentship Description


The residual waste from mining processes, or tailings, are most commonly disposed of by mixing the ground rock with water and pumping them as a slurry into large lagoons retained by dams constructed from the coarser part of the tailings. The very loose state of the sediments in the lagoon promotes their liquefaction, so that the consequences of dam failure can be very severe, through loss of life, homes, livelihoods and widespread environmental damage from the release often of millions of cubic metres of waste. Since 1917 there have been more than 245 tailings dam incidents with around two to three major failures per annum recently. The failure in 2008 in Xiangfen County, China, caused 277 deaths, but these disasters are by no means restricted to developing economies, and in 1985 at Stava, Italy, the debris flow resulting from the failure of a dam built on a hillside travelled down the valley at 90km/h killing 268.


The project will investigate the liquefaction of tailings materials under seismic loading, collaborating with the China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing and Golder associates. The research will be of an experimental nature, by means of advanced laboratory testing in the Geotechnical Engineering Research Laboratory at UCL. The work will be supervised by Professor Matthew and Dr. Béatrice Baudet. Professor Coop recently joined UCL following six years as Chair Professor of Geotechnics at the City University of Hong Kong, before which he was Professor of Experimental Soil Mechanics at Imperial College London.

Person Specification


Suitable candidates should have a good honours degree (1st Class or 2.1 minimum) in Civil Engineering, Engineering Geology or related subjects. A relevant Master’s degree would be considered as an advantage.




Applications are invited from UK and EU members, residing in UK. Applicants must meet EPSRC eligibility requirements:


Start Date

The post is available from 25 September 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.


Application Procedure

Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to Professor Matthew Coop at

The successful applicant will then have to apply online to UCL by submitting the PhD application form, available from and clicking on the Apply now button. Please name Professor Matthew Coop as the proposed supervisor.

Contact name Matthew Coop

Contact details

UCL Taking Action for Equality

Closing Date 25 Aug 2017

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