Dr Helen Fairclough

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Research Fellow


Full contact details

Dr Helen Fairclough
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building (Broad Lane Building)
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Helen graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2015 with a degree in Structural Engineering. She then joined the department as a PhD student, continuing her development of a novel method of applying structural optimization to the design of long span bridges. In addition, she spent periods working with Expedition Engineering in London, where she evaluated existing optimization methods against real-world projects, and developed new techniques to overcome issues with clarity and buildability.

After her PhD, Helen spent time working at the spin-out company LimitState. Here, she focused on integrating structural optimization techniques into design tools aimed at practicing engineers. She was lead developer of LayOpt, a simple and accessible web-app that allows users to quickly find structural forms with minimal material usage; LayOpt is freely available at www.layopt.com. She also contributed to the Peregrine plugin, which integrates structural optimization into workflows using the popular Rhino/Grasshopper CAD system.

Helen then re-joined the department as part of the 'Digital Design Tools for Long Span Structures' project, which looked at incorporating further practical constraints into bridge optimization methods.

She is now working as an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow, exploring a range of avenues to extend the scope and applicability of structural optimization methods, and thereby allowing more sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

Research interests

Resource-efficient structural design

Digital design tools and workflows

Robustness of optimized structures


Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Research group

Intelligent Infrastructure