The focal point of the School is its innovative, industry-relevant research and postgraduate training:
- We have a thriving post-graduate community, with around 200 co-located doctoral students along with 35 research associates
- We have an outstanding record of doctoral supervision – on average, a student graduates with a PhD from the School every two weeks [129 completions between 01-Aug-2008 and 31-Jul-2013]
This level of activity is facilitated by an excellent record in attracting research funds, with research spend totalling £25.5m between 01-Aug-2008 and 31-Jul-2013.
Research in the School
School staff represent every major discipline associated with the built environment, providing numerous supervision options. We adopt a problem-driven approach to our work whereby expertise is mobilised in response to the intellectual challenges that we confront, rather than being kept within disciplinary silos. The majority of our funded portfolio involves inter-school collaboration, and doctoral research can also benefit from such arrangements where appropriate.
The School hosts the following centres:
- The Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), one of the world's leading research, education and training institutes for improving access to infrastructure and services for the poor in developing countries
- The European Construction Institute (ECI), Europe's only transnational network of construction excellence. It brings together many of the most innovative clients, contractors, specialists and support organisations in Europe to develop and share knowledge aimed at improving the entire construction supply chain.
The School has a long history of working closely with industrial partners on collaborative research, with opportunities for industry involvement in doctoral research.
For further information on our research or to contact specific research groups or personnel, please select the appropriate menu option or watch this short presentation given by Professor Andrew Dainty, Associate Dean for Research.
Our 1000m2 award-winning ‘Research Hub’ provides a flexible, vibrant research environment that facilitates innovative research practice and collaborative knowledge exchange within and across conventional disciplinary boundaries.
Our 3000m2 of specialist laboratory space, supported by 13 technical staff, has benefitted from a £1.5m investment in refurbishment and new equipment over the last five years.
New/upgraded facilities include:
- Four test houses
- Solar simulator and air source heat pump with solar thermal rig and energy store
- Daylighting suite
- Domestic central heating rig and a large environmental chamber for thermal comfort and indoor air quality research
- Fluids laboratory (including a large brine facility for modelling buoyancy-driven natural ventilation)
- Specialist biological and chemical containment facility (licenced zone 2)
- Flexible rig to test full-scale structural elements and a suite of instruments to build field observatories for infrastructure health monitoring
- New Structural dynamics lab including two twin long-stroke low-frequency bench shake tables
- Indoor biomechanical facility with 3-D motion capture and high speed filming, materials characterisation and outdoor pitch test facilities
- One of the fastest high performance computing clusters in the UK.
The School is just four minutes from the recently-refurbished University library.
We provide a rich training environment for all of our research students, with School staff delivering mentoring and supervision alongside a ‘cohort-based experience’. Each student has two academic supervisors and a director of research programme; many students also have an industrial mentor. Progress is monitored through regular supervisory meetings and a robust academic progress review conducted at the end of each year by an independent examiner.
All students are provided with a laptop, access to our laboratory facilities, technician support and funds for travel and conference attendance. The LU Graduate School provides transferable and employability training to meet the requirements of the researcher development framework. This includes face-to-face workshops, an annual research conference including poster competition and the ‘Café Academique’ forum where PhD students can debate the latest ideas from all areas of research.
Students benefit from the School’s extensive seminar programme (23 visiting speakers since 2010), quarterly doctoral seminar programme and annual away days.
Students are clustered around our four research sub-themes, with many straddling more than one, creating a critical mass around particular research challenges. Such alignment with our major research projects and resources exposes students to world-class research programmes, and provides a gateway to experiencing interdisciplinary, multi-institution work in leading UK and overseas institutions.
The aim is to stimulate our students, broaden their horizons, and deepen their knowledge in order to mould the research leaders of tomorrow.
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