Infrastructure research focuses on addressing the challenges in providing the physical structures, facilities and resources needed for civilisation to function.


This research needs to address both the present and the future challenges. Looking forward, it is clear that humanity has created increasingly complex infrastructure systems that are neither resilient nor well understood.  Anticipated increases in the frequency and severity of natural and man-made disasters, such as those caused by climate change, will cause greater uncertainty in the behaviour of such systems in the future. 

Specifically, our cities and civil infrastructure are facing a ‘trilemma’:

  • Population growth and urbanisation are increasing the demands on infrastructure, which is becoming more diverse and complex.
  • Socio-technical (the social and technical aspects of society) complexity is increasing along with the number and types of connections between assets and systems, each with reflecting dependencies or interdependencies.
  • The capacity of society to invest in infrastructure renewal is reducing relative to the rate of increase in size and complexity of the functions that they need to support.

Society is both generating new engineered systems and retrofitting existing ones (cities, energy systems and national infrastructure) as it strives for prosperity and growth with finite resources. As well as developing tools to manage discrete infrastructure problems, we need to develop techniques to improve our understanding of the inherent and complex uncertainties in our integrated infrastructure systems, which also operate within and interact with complex natural environments. 

Our research seeks to shed new light on the above mentioned challenges for infrastructure, to shape our cities in a manner that allows them to thrive within the carrying capacity of the planet.


Our department has been research-led for over 100 years and our academic staff are organised into four overarching disciplines, the main ones being Water Engineering and Structural Engineering and Materials.

Water Engineering

Structural Engineering & Materials

Geotechnical Engineering

Resources, Infrastructure Systems and Built Environments

Current Research

Hydro KTP (Innovate UK)

Efficient Surrogate Modelling for Sustainable Management of Complex Seawater Intrusion-Impacted Aquifers (EPSRC)

DecarboN8 (EPSRC)

Modelling Mixing Mechanisms in 1D Water Network Models (EPSRC)

Biomonitoring (South Staffordshire Water PLC)

Grand Challenge for Water (EPSRC)

Real Time Absraction Management (Innovate UK)

Exploiting the resilience of masonry arch bridge infrastructure (EPSRC)


Datatecnics Phase 2 (Datatecnics Corporation Ltd)

ICASP Hull Living with Water Partnership (Natural Environment Research Council)

Material Destiny (Anglian Water Services Ltd)

Urban Green DaMS (EPSRC)

Previous Research - last 5 years


NBIC proposal with Welsh Water (BBSRC)

Masonry arch bridges containing internal spandrels (Network Rail Ltd)

Practical 3D model of masonry arch bridges and tunnel linings (Network Rail Ltd)

Focussing Localised Discolouration Modelling (United Utilities Water Plc)

PODDS + (Severn Trent Water Ltd)

Particle-Scale Investigation of Seepage Induced Geotechnical Instablility (EPSRC)

The Addition of Phosphate Dosing to Dwr Cymru Welsh Water zone B10 (Welsh Water)

RCUK-TUBITAK Research Partnerships (EPSRC)

Investigating potable water distribution networks and consumer demand for systems subjected to low pressures and intermittent supply (Royal Academy of Engineering)

UKWIR Bacteriological Monitoring Project (UK Water Industry Research Ltd)

Wat-Qual: Water Quality in Drinking Water Distribution Systems (Horizon 2020)

Academics Involved

Name Other Research Themes
Arbabi, Dr Hadi Energy
de Borst, Prof. René Hazards, Energy & Materials
Bowman, Dr Elisabeth Hazards
Boxall, Prof. Joby Hazards, Digital & Energy 
Burgess, Prof. Ian Hazards, Digital & Materials
Clarke, Dr Sam Hazards & Materials
Collins, Dr Richard Hazards
Davison, Prof. Buick Hazards & Materials
Densley Tingley, Dr Danielle Digital, Energy & Materials
Douterelo Soler, Dr Isabel Hazards
Fairclough, Dr Helen Digital
Gaspar, Dr Tiago Hazards
Gilbert, Prof. Matthew Hazards, Digital & Materials
Guadagnini, Dr Maurizio Hazards & Materials
Guymer, Prof. Ian Hazards
Hajirasouliha, Prof. Iman Hazards & Materials
Hathway, Dr Abigail Digital, Energy & Materials
Huang, Dr Shan-Shan Hazards & Materials
Husband, Dr Stewart Hazards
Kesserwani, Dr Georges Hazards & Digital
Liew, Dr Andrew Digital & Materials
Mayfield, Prof. Martin Digital, Energy & Materials
Nichols, Dr Andy Hazards
Ozdemir, Dr Zuhal Hazards & Materials
Pilakoutas, Prof. Kypros Hazards & Materials
Rigby, Dr Sam Hazards, Digital & Materials
Rougé, Dr Charles Hazards, Energy, Digital & Materials
Schellart, Dr Alma Hazards & Energy
Shucksmith, Dr James Hazards
Smith, Prof. Colin Hazards, Digital & Materials
Speight, Prof. Vanessa Hazards
Stovin, Prof. Virginia Hazards & Materials
Susmel, Prof. Luca Materials
Tait, Prof. Simon Hazards & Energy
Torelli, Dr Giacomo Hazards & Materials
Tyas, Prof. Andrew Hazards, Digital & Materials
Yun, Dr Xiang Digital & Materials

Our league table rankings

Top 100 Civil & Structural Engineering department in the world and 9th in the UK according to the QS World University rankings by subject (2023).

10th in the UK according to the Times University League Table (2024).

12th in the UK according to the Complete University Guide (2024).

Centres of excellence

The University's cross-faculty research centres harness our interdisciplinary expertise to solve the world's most pressing challenges.