Research Studentship in Computer Vision for Performance Assessment of Infrastructure

4-year D.Phil studentship, available from EPSRC Industrial Case Award with ARUP

Research Area

Detailed sensing data can enhance the quality and increase the efficiency of inspecting and maintaining infrastructure assets. This research will explore the new opportunities provided by displacement and strain monitoring data from infrastructure assets gathered using computer vision techniques. Within this context, processing of images from cameras, point cloud data from laser scanners and radar data from satellites is considered within the domain of computer vision. These techniques allow remote and precise monitoring of displacements of assets over time scales varying from a few seconds to years. Compared to conventional surveying, these techniques can generate unparalleled amount of data, and in the case of photogrammetry, enable relevant and high accuracy strain measurements while generating significant cost savings.

This DPhil project will investigate computer vision monitoring techniques, with a strong focus on photogrammetry, to provide robust monitoring solutions that can assess asset performance in short and long term. This will involve developing algorithms which can highlight existing defects in assets and provide displacement and strain measurements for a variety of different structures (e.g. bridges, buildings, railway embankments) while minimising the influence of environmental conditions (e.g. ambient lighting) on measurements. The data will be primarily used to improve engineering assessment techniques and computational modelling strategies. Important geotechnical problems, such as the influence of underground construction on existing assets, will be explored with the collection of real data from ongoing major infrastructure projects.

The student will be supervised jointly by Dr. Sinan Acikgoz of the University of Oxford, and Dr Mehdi Alhaddad of ARUP. The project will provide the opportunity to interact closely with ARUP engineers during a minimum 3-month placement.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of at least £14,777 p.a. (2018-19 rate) for four years. The studentship does cover the payment of course fees (£ 7730 for the 2019-20 academic year).


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (CASE) Award Scheme and is open to both UK students (full award – fees plus stipend) and EU students (partial award – fees only). Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • 1st or high 2:1 honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science or a relevant discipline
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Ability to program in Matlab and/or Python and/or other programming languages
  • Experience in structural and or geotechnical engineering research demonstrated by a publication at an international conference or an international journal
  • Practical experience in geotechnical and structural engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship. Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application.

Further details about making a graduate application.

Please quote 19ENGCI_SA in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Application deadline

26 July 2019

Start date

October 2019