MACE Beacon PhD

The MACE Beacon PhD Studentship scheme has been introduced to facilitate research that is aligned with the University of Manchester’s ‘Global Research Challenge’ and conducted with support of an external sponsor. It is expected that the proposed programme of research will effect research-led industrial and societal change. The School of MACE expects to support up to FOUR studentships during 2016-17, increasing in subsequent years.

The main elements of the studentship are 50% funding from the School to match a 50% contribution from the industrial partner, towards a 3 year studentship. Projects should be aligned with the remit of one or more of the Research Beacons of the University of Manchester being; Addressing Global Inequalities, Energy, Advanced Materials, Cancer and Industrial Biotechnology. These are research areas of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet.

The School of MACE is seeking to engage across a broad range of Beacon related topics, particularly where new external links are forged, so it is expected that the first round of studentships would each be with different sponsors. Other part-funding opportunities such as EPSRC iCASE, CASE and project-specific contracts could be considered as alternatives.

Case Study | Adobe Bricks

Adobe bricks (often termed as mud bricks) are one of the most common earthen construction techniques whereby a mixture of clay, sand and water is formed in moulds and air-dried before use. In developing countries, more than 50% of the population live or work in these type of buildings, which includes the majority of the rural population and at least 20% of the urban population (Blondet, et al., 2011). However, adobe construction is highly vulnerable to natural hazards such as earthquakes, extreme winds and flooding. Many areas of the developing world are subject to frequent natural disasters and the pressure on housing infrastructure is set to increase with climate change. The European Macroseismic scale classifies typical adobe structures to be the most vulnerable class of housing, thus collapse of such structures may result in loss of life, serious injuries and economic losses.

Sandwich adobe units prepared to test the suitability of the mortar                             for adobe construction

The School of MACE is conducting research into a suitable strengthening technique which can improve the lateral resistance of adobe structures, therefore preventing loss of life and aiding recovery time in poor communities. In developing this technique, research will focus on use of materials that are affordable, accessible to local people, sustainable, durable, easy to be applied by unskilled local workers and light in weight. Both experimental and numerical methods are employed in this research, the former being conducted at the School of MACE laboratories. 

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