Research Fellow in Masonry Arch Bridges

University of Leeds School of Civil Engineering

United Kingdom

Research Fellow in Masonry Arch Bridges

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for a new challenge? Do you have expertise in experimental structural engineering, especially in the testing of large-scale masonry structures or similar? Do you want to further your career by making an important contribution to this ambitious and exciting research project with the opportunity to work with leading researchers and bridge owners in the UK? Do you want to help with the development of bridge assessment guides that take into account the real behaviour of masonry arch bridges?

Although approaching 50% of bridge spans on the UK rail and regional highway networks are of masonry arch construction, our understanding of their fundamental behaviour remains limited, and the modelling approaches used by engineers when assessing the strength and in-service performance of such bridges are not capable of capturing real-world behaviour. This means that bridges are being needlessly damaged, strengthened and/or demolished, at significant and growing cost to the nation. To help address this a team of researchers from the University of Leeds, Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield has been awarded EPSRC research funding totalling £1.85M for a project titled “Exploiting the resilience of masonry arch bridge infrastructure: a 3D multi-level modelling framework”.

Working with bridge owners and their consultants, the team will undertake an integrated programme of experimental and numerical modelling work to greatly improve our understanding of masonry arch bridge behaviour and to provide practitioners with a powerful suite of modelling tools and a robust 3D multi-level modelling framework. A key part of this work, to be carried out at the University of Leeds, is to test a series of large-scale (3m span) clay brick arch bridges in the laboratory. Each bridge (consisting of a brickwork arch, abutments, wingwalls, spandrels and either limestone or clay backfill) will be subjected to an array of cyclic concentrated loads applied over a continuous period of one month.

Detailed measurements of the response of each bridge to the applied load will be recorded using digital image correlation and other equipment. The data, together with the results from smaller-scale testing undertaken at Sheffield, will be used by the Imperial College team in the development of a high-fidelity finite element model. The

Leeds team will also carry out additional testing of masonry samples to facilitate material parameter identification.

Although you will be based at the University of Leeds you will also work closely with the research teams at Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield. You will attend regular research team meetings and steering group meetings (with the project’s industrial partners) in London and Sheffield.

Support will be provided for you to achieve some of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) core training objectives (as defined in the ICE’s research and development route) with a view to assisting you to move towards achieving chartered engineer status.

What we offer in return

  • 26 days holiday plus approx.16 Bank Holidays/days that the University is closed by custom (including Christmas) – That’s 42 days a year!
  • Generous pension scheme plus life assurance – the University contributes 21.6% of salary. 
  • Health and Wellbeing: Discounted staff membership options at The Edge, our state-of-the-art Campus gym, with a pool, sauna, climbing wall, cycle circuit, and sports halls.
  • Personal Development: Access to courses run by our Organisational Development & Professional Learning team, and self-development courses including languages, Creative Writing, Wellbeing Therapies and much more.
  • Access to on-site childcare, shopping discounts and travel schemes are also available.

And much more!  

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

, Professor of Resilient Structures & Infrastructure

Tel: +44(0)113 343 9343


Location: Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service: Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School/Institute: School of Civil Engineering
Category: Research
Grade: Grade 7
Salary: £35,333 to £42,155 p.a.
Due to funding restrictions, an appointment will not be made higher than £37,474 p.a.
Working Time: 37.5 hours per week
Post Type: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed Term (1st December 2023 - Grant funding)
Release Date: Tuesday 03 January 2023
Closing Date: Tuesday 31 January 2023
Reference: EPSCV1101

In your application, please refer to


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