PhD Studentships Water Pipe Inspection

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering.

2 posts

An exciting opportunity has arisen to undertake a PhD project as a part of a multidisciplinary team in robotics and water engineering. Two PhD studentships are available as part of the recently awarded prestigious multi-million pound, multi-institute, EPSRC funded “Assessing the Underworld” project. The overall aim of the project is to provide a step change in the understanding of the buried infrastructure that facilitates modern life. The work at Sheffield is focussed on the buried water distribution systems and will build upon the existing world leading research in this field in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE). This project will establish links between CSE and the world leading robotics research conducted at the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, now expanding into the new state-of-the-art facilities of the Sheffield Centre for Robotics (SCentRo) and the Leonardo Center for Tribology in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The PhD studentships have the potential to be developed in a number of interesting areas:

  • Hardware design for underwater robots in confined spaces;
  • Sensor modules for underground pressurised pipe inspection and navigation, including but not limited to: ultrasonics, vision, inertial measurement units;     
  • Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithms for robots in underground pressurised pipes;     
  • Sensor fusion algorithms for above and below ground inspection devices;
  • Robotics for finding and fixing leaks in pipe systems;
  • Robotics for payload deployment, including the installation of miniaturised fixed pressure and flow meters,

Support is available in any of these areas, and the awards will be made to strong students whose skills, enthusiasm and expertise can be matched to an aspect of the project. Applicants should indicate the area in which they would like to pursue research.

The successful applicants will be co-supervised between the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Applicants should have, or expect to attain this summer, an MEng (or BEng/BSc with MSc) passed at 2.1 or 1st, or equivalent, in an appropriate discipline, such as: electronic, mechanical, civil engineering, computer science or control systems engineering. A relevant Masters degree and/or experience in robotics, mechatronics or signal processing would be an advantage. Applicants should be self-motivated and able to formulate and implement new ideas.


The two studentships are funded through different routes described below:

  1. The first studentship will provide full support for either UK national, EU and international applicants, covering both tuition fees and maintenance.
  2. The second studentship is an EPSRC funded position, which will provide the following support:
  • UK national applicants: tuition fees and maintenance.
  • EU applicants: tuition fees only.
  • International applicants: neither tuition fees nor maintenance.

For details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements go to:

The awarding of the two studentships will depend on the quality, and backgrounds of the applicants.

The deadline for applications is Friday 20th September 2013.

Applications should be made by submitting a CV and covering letter, by clicking the ‘Apply’ link below.

For further Information, please contact either:

Dr Richard Collins, E;, T; +44 (0) 114 222 5715

Dr Sean Anderson, E;, T; +44 (0) 114 222 5608

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