Use of digital technologies for infrastructure innovation


Qualification type: PhD

Location: Hatfield, United Kingdom

Funding for: UK/EU and international applicants

Funding amount: The studentship includes a full tuition fee waiver for three years and a non-standard bursary of £7,500 per year. Additional funding to support the research may be available.

Duration: Three years

Closing application date: 30 September 2020

Interviews to be held: 7 October 2020

Expected start: 1 November 2020

Project outline

UK towns, cities and regions are facing heterogeneous and unprecedented economic, demographic, financial and sustainability challenges which make it necessary to upgrade/update the infrastructure. The UK is responding to this need by investing in ‘industry challenge’ policies. The main theme has been using disruptive digital technologies like big data analytics, artificial intelligence, internet of things and block chain to improve infrastructure in sectors of national importance.

For the current projects, the key infrastructure targeted will include: (i) buildings, through design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA), (ii) predicting air pollution concentration using data from IoT pollution sensors. The projects will focus on using the aforementioned digital technologies to develop intelligent tool(s).

Person specification

The successful applicant should have a minimum of upper second-class honours degree and a Masters with credit, with focus on computing or construction (DfMA). A computing-focused candidate must have an idea ­­about construction (or air pollution) and vice versa. Experience in the use of, or having studied courses with focus on, machine learning, and/or big data analytics will represent an added advantage. Preferred skill requirements include:

Computing focused candidates:

  • Knowledge and experience of Big Data Analytics
  • Knowledge and practical experience of machine learning methods (supervised and unsupervised, deep neural networks and other algorithms, e.g. support vector machine and BART machine; knowledge of generative algorithms is an added advantage)
  • Experience in plug in and software development
  • Knowledge/experience in data visualization
  • Some knowledge of construction and/or air pollution
  • Interest in the management field

Construction (DfMA) focused candidates:

  • Knowledge and practical experience of general building design
  • Knowledge and practical experience of DfMA
  • Experience in use of building design software
  • Understanding of the construction industry
  • Knowledge of the artificial intelligence/machine learning methods
  • Any demonstrable experience of practical application of artificial intelligence/machine learning is an added advantage
  • Understanding of Big Data
  • Interest in the management field


Applicants must hold or obtain:

  • A completed application form, available for download here.
  • A 2000 words research proposal on a topic related to digital technologies application for infrastructure innovation
  • Two academic references.
  • Copies of qualification certificates and transcripts.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • Certification of English language competence (minimum IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

Application process

To apply for the studentship please complete the application form (PDF - 0.25 Mb) and email it with supporting evidence and a copy of your CV to: You should provide the title of the PhD project in the subject line of the email.

For enquiries regarding research degrees at the University of Hertfordshire and this application process, please email Ms Lynette Spelman ( Ms Spelman can also supply you with our PhD Schedule and Notes of Guidance for Applicants, on request.

For enquiries concerning these studentships please email Dr Hafiz Alaka