PhD Studentship in Carbon Accounting in Geotechnical Solutions of Capex Funded Strengthening Across the UK Mainline Railway
University of Southampton School of Engineering
United Kingdom

PhD Studentship in Carbon Accounting in Geotechnical Solutions of Capex Funded Strengthening Across the UK Mainline Railway

School of Engineering

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date: Monday 31 August 2020

Reference: 1283020DA

Supervisory Team: Simon Blainey, John Preston, William Powrie

Project description

Researching the totally reliable, affordable, zero-carbon, 24-hour railway

The railway is at the heart of Britain’s economy and touches the lives of millions of people daily. Future success relies on it becoming more resilient and more cost and carbon efficient, and on improving its service to passengers.

High capacity, high speed inter-urban rail for passengers and freight is of major importance around the world. Increased capacity on new and existing routes is urgently needed to decarbonise land transport and improve economic efficiency.

Network Rail (NR) has a need to understand the embedded carbon in its hard engineering solutions. While a suite of standard details exists with carbon footprint of different quantities of key materials such as concrete and steel, this information is not fully incorporated into the option selection process for engineering projects. Methods used to account for the sustainability of solutions are often qualitative rather than quantitative. NR aspires to quantify (and monetise) the contribution of embedded carbon by each standard detail and to develop an approach that estimates the construction impacts of each in terms of its carbon emissions.

NR also needs to be able to design, quantify and monetise the carbon offset schemes required to mitigate the impact of major interventions works. For example, what quantity of trees would be required to off-set a project with limited vegetation removal but which imports substantial fill material to site by road? Your project will centre on the creation of an assessment tool for asset managers to inform and guide their option selection at a tactical level; and to use strategically across their portfolio to demonstrate a journey towards becoming carbon neutral.

Enjoying the best of both worlds, you will be employed by Network Rail on a graduate salary and work alongside a world-leading research team at the new Boldrewood Innovation Campus in Southampton. You will be a member of a small cohort of doctoral students working with NR at the heart of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure. You will be supervised jointly by the University and NR, with opportunities to spend periods of time in NR offices and on site. Your PhD research outputs are likely to lead quickly to real world trials and potential adoption into standards and practice.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have at least a relevant UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by the University and Network Rail jointly soon afterwards.

Funding: full tuition for UK/EU students. Successful candidates will be employed by Network Rail with a starting salary of £26,500 per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter “Carbon accounting in geotechnical solutions” under the Topic or Field of Research. A parallel application to Network Rail will be required.

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Personal statement of your reasons for applying, not exceeding 500 words

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact:


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