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Cities, ever dynamic and every one unique, are projected to undergo unprecedented change due to a combination of global and local challenges associated with population growth, demographic changes, increasing urbanisation, patterns of migration, differential resource scarcity, climate change, technology and so on. These cities need supporting by a variety of infrastructure systems, which are almost inevitably themselves interdependent as well as interfacing intimately with individual citizens, society as a collective, and the natural and built environments. City infrastructure systems consequently provide a rich context for many academic disciplines and provide a host of pressing research questions. 

Within this context, the needs of cities and their citizens in the far future constitute the brief for today’s visionary engineering, while to deliver on this brief requires engineers to work seamlessly and effectively across multiple disciplines. This has been the primary achievement of an ambitious portfolio of multi-disciplinary, multi-university research led by the University of Birmingham addressing urban sustainability1, resilience2 and liveability3, both now and in the far future2,3,4, and how engineers might respond to these challenges5,6. These programmes address engineering challenges such as urban metabolism, infrastructure systems and their interdependencies7, and use of underground space in cities, and yet they are necessarily married to citizen wellbeing, planetary wellbeing and ecosystem service provision.

We are looking for doctoral students who are keen to engage with this research portfolio. Although based in the School of Civil Engineering, the core disciplinary base is less important than a willingness to work across disciplines on relevant aspects of how we should engineer future infrastructure systems. Three funded studentships, covering UK/EU fees and an allowance towards living costs, are available for a 2015 start. Please contact Professor Chris Rogers (, ideally enclosing a brief CV and an outline of your area of interest.