Studentship W5P6 – Computational tools for assessing building vulnerability from tsunamis

Funding – The studentship covers UCL tuition fees and provides a stipend of £15,726 pa (tax-free).

Funding Body: EPSRC

Project Partner: HR Wallingford

Academic Supervisor: Professor Ian Eames (


Dr Giovanni Cuomo (

Dr Stephen Richardson (

In partnership with HR Wallingford and the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, the UCL Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience invites applications for a four year (one year MRes and three year EngD) studentship to work on an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK funded project.

Project Background: The focus of this EngD study is on developing original research on estimating the forces acting on buildings (within an urban environment) due to the impact and runup of a tsunami. This is an extremely complex problem which involves combining together results from numerical models with extensive database of experimental results. The scientific gap and challenge to be able to accurately estimate the distribution of force over the surface of a building, the total force on the building and how this is influenced by the properties of the incident flow. The current project looks to develop computational tools to be able to assess the force on idealised models of buildings, and to develop techniques that will enable this information to be incorporated into large-scale computational models that can assess the potential for building damage.

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Studentship Description: The work will be computational and involve using in-house or shareware codes to assess the forces on buildings individually and in groups. The computational results will be compared against analytical models and unique experimental data from the UCL and HR Wallingford fluids laboratories.

The purpose will be to develop guidance on how tsunami flow on and around buildings can be modelled in order to provide input to tsunami coastal risk assessments. The student will be part of the multi-disciplinary research group EPICentre ( and form part of a larger team looking at tsunami risk estimation.

The student will also be expected to engage with HR Wallingford, and spend some time on its premises undertaking research activity related to the project. There may be a chance that the student will be able to participate in some experimental work at both UCL and Wallingford.

Person Specification: Applicants should have a good honours degree (ideally a 1st or 2:1 minimum) in mathematics, mechanical engineering, physical or environmental science, computer science or civil engineering. This is a computational project and experience of programming C++, data handling and visualisation, a high level of numeracy, and good understanding of fluid mechanics. You should be able to demonstrate excellent organisational and communication skills, have the interpersonal skills to work as part of a professional team, while also possessing the self-motivation and enthusiasm to work alone.

Eligibility Applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility criteria

Start Date: 23rd September 2013 for 4-years full time (no part time option available).

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Application Procedure

To apply, please visit and upload a covering letter and CV indicating how you meet the criteria and demonstrating your passion for the research area. 

Closing Date: 5pm on Monday 10th June 2013.    

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