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QUADRAT DTP CASE: Geotechnical Properties of Glacial Tills: Engineering and Environmental Applications

School of Natural and Built Environment | PHD
Applications are now CLOSED
Funding
Funded
Reference Number
NBE/2020/08
Application Deadline
22 January 2020
Start Date
1 October 2020

Overview

The geotechnical properties of a substrate (e.g. grain-size, permeability, shear strength) determines how it responds to natural and anthropogenic processes. In the UK, glacial till is the most widespread surface deposit, but is hugely heterogeneous and poorly characterised in terms of physical and chemical properties. This has widespread environmental and engineering implications, for example for prediction of ground conditions, groundwater resource protection, and hazard risk management. Recent advances have recognised specific bedrock controlled till domains (Roberson and Pellicer 2017) across the island of Ireland, providing a national framework within which to undertake this project.

The primary aim will be to gather and assess physical and chemical properties of tills from geologically defined bedrock domains across Northern Ireland in order to identify linkages between bedrock and till (Davies et al 2015). The study will utilise information held by the supporting organisations, including the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) who host a repository of site investigation information in excess of 100K records. Also available through GSNI are the regional, high resolution Tellus Project soil geochemistry and radiometric datasets. Access to QUB geotechnical testing facilities will facilitate acquisition of new and bespoke data specific to bedrock till domains.

An important outcome will be to provide, for each bedrock domain, a suite of properties that allow for modelling of the engineering and environmental behaviour of till across the region. Statistical analysis and comparison of datasets will identify relationships between variables, e.g. particle size distribution and permeability (MacDonald et al 2012), and it is envisaged that further associations will be discovered at the domain and regional scales

Funding Information

This project is in competition for funding.

This project is funded by the NERC QUADRAT-DTP and is available to UK/EU nationals who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria. Please visit www.quadrat.ac.uk for more information.

The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, stipend and a research training and support grant subject to eligibility.

Project Summary
Supervisor

Dr David Hughes


Mode of Study

Full-time: 3.5 years


Funding Body
NERC QUADRAT-DTP
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Civil Engineering overview

The research centre will address the topical grand challenges in civil engineering field, building on existing and developing new international collaborations. Financial support to meet these challenges will be acquired through both internal University initiatives (for enhanced infrastructure and facilities) and external funding from government grants, charities and direct industrial support.

Research will address the grand challenges of energy, carbon, clean water, infrastructure; exploring extremes and defining new limits. Key research areas include:

Marine renewable energy
Groundwater and environmental systems
Geotechnics
Intelligent infrastructure and high performance structures
Energy efficient materials

Mode of study / duration

Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD, or two years for MPhil (or part-time equivalent).

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Course content

Research Information

Associated Research
The dynamic nature of this research has been key to the CERC's success in attracting significant funding from UK research councils, government departments and agencies. CERC generated £11.5m in external research income during the last Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) 5-year period.
The Civil Engineering Research Centre (CERC) is a leading international, interdisciplinary centre that enables scientists and engineers from all areas of civil engineering investigation to work on diverse, yet complementary research.
A special feature of the CERC is the extensive and diverse range of research topics being researched by students and staff in the Centre.

Career Prospects

Introduction
For further information on career opportunities at PhD level please contact the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Student Recruitment Team on askEPS@qub.ac.uk. Our advisors - in consultation with the School - will be happy to provide further information on your research area, possible career prospects and your research application.

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Learning Outcomes

Course structure

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Entrance requirements

Graduate
The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407
Other (non-UK) EU £4,407
International £21,300

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Civil Engineering costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

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