Infrastructure Materials

Our researchers can access large-scale environmental chambers, high-powered electron microscopes and x-ray microtomography equipment

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Tall buildings in London skyline
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Cities, Infrastructure and Energy

Cities, Infrastructure and Energy

Our Cities, Infrastructure & Energy systems are at the forefront of sustainable development challenges faced by societies. We aim to reduce climate change and improve resilience of the built environment and city infrastructure through multi and transdisciplinary studies. We bring innovations in low carbon and circular built environment, while seeking to ensure the health and wellbeing of occupants. We increase capacity of infrastructure systems to mitigate and adapt to future climate changes and develop managerial solutions to deliver these innovations.

We deliver our projects with strong national and international collaborations. Our topics covers the following strands:


Architecture and Architectural engineering play a key role in achieving the sustainable development of our built-environment. Our research takes multi-disciplinary approaches to sustainable buildings, low carbon design, low impact materials and waste minimization, relationships between occupant behaviours, health, wellbeing and building performance. We contribute to the climate emergency by developing award winning technical innovations in low carbon construction systems coupling efficiency, resiliency, design for deconstruction and reuse, and advanced/ robotic manufacturing.

We also approach architecture and urbanism with multiple theoretical and empirical discourses to create impact and knowledge on design and practice, and communities within the Global South. We are particularly interested in using the arts and humanities methodologies to unfold complex topics on urban and digital heritage, Participatory Action Research (PAR), co-production processes, socio-spatial studies, memory, culture, preservation, regeneration, digital mapping and living labs.

Circular economy

A circular economy is crucial for sustainable development. It includes efforts to minimise resource use, prevent waste and optimise the social, environmental, technical and economic values of products, components and materials throughout their consecutive lifecycles. Circular economy involves design for reduced resource balanced with durability, modular design that enables the repairing, reusing, repurposing and remanufacturing of components and high quality recycling.

Civil Engineering is home to world leading inter and transdisciplinary research to support the implementation of a sustainable circular economy, in the areas of architecture and construction materials, water and waste management, and energy infrastructure, and cross-cutting areas such as governance, project management, business model innovation and whole system assessment. Please find a full overview of circular economy research at the University of Leeds on the Yorkshire Circular Lab website


Providing clean renewable energy is a key priority for tackling climate change and achieving net zero emissions. The school of civil engineering conducts world-leading multi-disciplinary research in both provision of energy and infrastructure for energy supply. In the field of energy geotechnics we work across geology, geotechnical engineering, building services engineering and policy, including on how we can use the ground and buried civil engineering structures for thermal energy provision, the use of ground source heat pumps and district heating, and how we can safely store nuclear waste and carbon dioxide within the ground.

Research also tackles the challenge of how we can produce energy vectors like biomethane and biohydrogen from products of wastewater treatment or agricultural and food industry waste, how we can improve the circularity of wind energy generation, and the provision of innovative business models and contractual arrangements to facilitate the deployment of energy infrastructure, such as small modular nuclear reactors and energy storage systems.

Project management

We develop solutions for ever-growing challenges in society, as projects become more prevalent organisational forms. Projects, as key vehicles to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, deliver infrastructure and change across the world. We are interested in improving the management and delivery of projects with particular focus on complex major infrastructure projects across their lifecycles, from concept through to decommissioning.

We have particular expertise in sustainable interventions, governance, project leadership and behaviour, and project economics and legalities. Our work is used by organisations such as the Association for Project Management, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and international corporations.

Please read our Leeds Centre for Projects (LCP) page for more information.

Infrastructure systems

Urban infrastructure is the nexus of our lives on this planet, and the current Climate Crisis is demanding more and more from these spaces in terms of mitigating their impacts on the environment – sustainability, and their ability to adapt/absorb future change – resilience. The school of Civil Engineering conducts world leading research in development and management of infrastructure systems, with particular emphasis on railway engineering systems with Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration, transport behaviour in urban areas, infrastructure robotics and infrastructure adaptation to future flood risk (from strategy to assessment). We use interdisciplinary approaches to develop technical and end-user focused research to ensure future urban environments are safe, sustainable, and resilient for future generations.

Collaborations and impact

We have a strong interdisciplinary funding portfolio that reflects collaborations across a wide range of disciplines and currently have over £20m of UKRI (EPSRC, ESRC, British Academy, AHRC, Innovate UK), EU and industrial funding. Our research has impact on a national and international scale through collaborations with numerous partners in academia, industry, government, professional bodies and NGOs in the UK, Europe, and the Global South.

Further information

View all members of our research group, our recent projects and publications.

PhD projects

We have opportunities for prospective postgraduate researchers. Find out more.

Informal enquiries regarding postgraduate research can be made to the group leader, or any member of staff working in a relevant area.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail, please contact Dr Ornella Iuorio.