The Use of Near Surface Seismic Geophysical Methods for Assessing
the Condition of Transport Infrastructure

The UK and Ireland's major transportation arteries are supported by a vast network of infrastructure earthwork assets (e.g. cuttings, embankments) that require sustainable cost-effective management, while maintaining an appropriate service level to meet social, economic and environmental needs. Recent extreme weather has highlighted their vulnerability to climate variations - with the resulting earthwork failures severely impacting transportation users and operators, and the wider economy. As these variations are projected to become more extreme, climate resilient infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important national priority. It is therefore crucial that appropriate approaches for assessing the stability of earthworks are developed so that repair work can be better targeted and failures avoided wherever possible. Current earthwork condition assessment practices are heavily dependent on either surface observations, which only address failures that have already begun, or point sensors, which are inadequate to detect localized deterioration. Use of these approaches is a major barrier to prevention as they do not identify the incremental development of internal conditions that ultimately trigger earthwork failure, and therefore limit the basis for early intervention.

This PhD project will assess the potential of near surface seismic geophysical methods for both rapidly assessing and monitoring the condition of earthworks. It will involve (a) development of data acquisition approaches that deliver the temporal and spatial resolutions required to support asset assessment, and (b) the establishment of a scientific basis to underpin relationships for geophysical to geotechnical property translation.

This project will be jointly supervised by academics from Queen's University Belfast (Dr. Shane Donohue) and the British Geological Survey (Dr. Jon Chambers, Dr. David Gunn).

If you would like to apply for this post please use the following link:

The deadline for applications is the 17rd of February 2017

Information on eligibility may be found at:

posted: 25 January 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.