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

Modern cities around the world rely on good urban infrastructure. As environmental and human pressure on urban spaces increases, we will increasingly need infrastructure that is sustainable and resilient. We face the corresponding challenge of decarbonizing construction and operation of buildings and other infrastructure in ways that make efficient use of resources and result in healthy environments that contribute to our wellbeing. Our research group is home for world-leading interdisciplinary research that seeks to address these challenges.

Our research in infrastructure materials, high-speed rail and robotics seeks to addresses key issues such as new business models for infrastructure, the role of robots and autonomous systems for maintenance in the infrastructure of the future. Our research embraces the development of some of the most energy efficient approaches to provide heating and cooling and ventilation in buildings, while considering the health of the indoor environment. We work on innovative alternatives to how we generate, distribute, and store energy and the ways our energy infrastructure is procured, owned and managed.

Our research

We seek to understand the influence and value of infrastructure to global economies, societies and the environment. We have an active interdisciplinary research portfolio in collaboration with national and international partners. The nature of our research leads to close collaborations with industry partners, research institutions academics from other areas of expertise.

  • Architecture and sustainable buildings: multi-disciplinary approaches to low carbon design; optimal structural design; low impact materials and waste minimization; relationships between occupant behaviours, wellbeing and building performance.
  • Architecture and urbanism: We research interdisciplinary and multi-faceted approaches to the built environment, to create knowledge on cities, landscapes and communities in the global south and post conflict cities.
  • Energy geotechnics: geothermal heating and cooling system design; ground heat exchanger and energy pile modelling and monitoring; ground properties assessment; heat pump applications.
  • Healthy buildings: natural and low energy ventilation, including relationships to air quality and occupant health and wellbeing.
  • Infrastructure robotics: We are creating self-repairing cities for the future by developing small robots to mend pipes, streetlights and roads with minimal environmental impact and disruption to the public.
  • Project management: Or research focuses on the effective design and delivery of infrastructure projects through working with industry professionals and policy makers.
  • Nuclear energy infrastructure: small modular reactors, load-following and co-generation, decommissioning and end of life management.
  • Sustainable and resilient infrastructure: Our interdisciplinary research explores the links between infrastructure, resilience and sustainable energy and resource use.

Collaborations and impact

We have a strong systems-led interdisciplinary funding portfolio that reflects collaborations across a wide range of disciplines and currently have over £10m of RCUK, 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.

Our group are core members in the Centre for Infrastructure Materials (CIM); The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration and Energy Leeds.

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, contact the Group Leader Professor Simon Rees