Current Student Research
Final Year PhD student - Matthew Bacon (RIBA, FRSA)
Research Topic - Engineering low carbon hospitals, using an integrated decision support methodology.
Brief description of research - To understand why UK hospitals are performing so badly from a low carbon perspective. Commentators on this situation advocate that a fundamentally new approach to hospital design is required. They state that this will require innovation and a much better understanding of building science.
The research is focusing on the factors that lead to poor performance and developing a radical new approach to low carbon hospital design. A case study project is underway on a £420 million hospital where the researcher is leading the low carbon strategy.
The researcher has developed a new building science called ‘Occupancy Analytics’ and the work has produced significant results that challenge the conventional basis of hospital design. Occupancy Analytics is a sophisticated database that models the whole hospital function.
The hypothesis is that if the processes (working practices) and the associated resources used in a hospital can be modelled, it would then be possible to understand the drivers for energy consumption and the associated carbon emissions. This would require working practices to be correlated to energy consumption and associated carbon emissions, another key focus of the research.
The hypothesis states that this would provide a powerful means to reduce carbon emissions and engineer a low carbon hospital. It should also enable hospital staff to make informed decisions concerning their working practices and to modify these to both achieve desired clinical outcomes and low carbon performance.
Student - Mark Bew
Year of study - Writing up
Programme mode - Part-time
Research topic – Engineering Better Social Outcomes through Requirements Management and Integrated Asset Data Processing
Summary of research
Leaders in the public and private sectors now realise that the approach to development currently being pursued by society is not sustainable in the long term. The social problems arising from this lack of sustainability are becoming obvious and creating concern in the mind of the public at large. Federation Internationale des Ingenieurs-Conseils (FIDIC 2011), Key Concepts for Project Sustainability Management Second Edition 2011 quotes “we need to respond in many ways to make better use of our finite resources and to deliver the best possible opportunities for our population to lead fulfilling useful lives”.
If successfully applied, an integrated approach to social and human aspects can ensure the welfare of end users can be dramatically enhanced. Best practice supports the acceptance and adoption of the asset by ensuring end users’ expectations and perceptions are met. Experience from schemes that have failed to address these issues are characterised by failure to plan, manage, design, integrate and execute with designers and stakeholders.
The Government’s stated objective in the Construction Strategy (2011) was to deliver a national infrastructure to service public consumers. The impact of national infrastructure failing to perform has gross implications on society and our ability to perform basic day to day tasks as well as to maintain a competitive national economy. As technology develops and matures and finite resources diminish, our historic approach needs to evolve. The digital revolution has come at a very timely moment in history coinciding with growing awareness of our impact on the planet, realisation that our continued use of finite resources will have consequences, and the impact of those consequences on society.
The awareness of sustainability has increased rapidly in the last decade. This research will utilise the definition provided by BS EN 15643-3:2012, which offers sustainability as the “ability of a system to be maintained for the present and future generations”, in the context of “environmental, social and economic aspects”. We are familiar with the cost and environmental elements of this all-encompassing subject and much progress has been made in the sector to formalise methods and measurements, but have these started to deliver improvements? The evidence regarding carbon according to the RAE (2010) is at best unreliable, due in the main to poor data quality or inconsistent or incomplete processes. The third and less well publicised element of sustainability is the impact that the built assets have on society and the perceived impact upon use. It is upon this subject this research will focus.
The research area this work seeks to address is “To demonstrate that Social Outcomes can be materially influenced by better processing of data attributes describing a built asset or composite data sets making up interdependent portfolios.”
Student name - Anoop Sattineni
Year of study - 4
Programme mode – Online Doctoral Porgramme
Research topic – A Decision Support Framework for Site Safety Monitoring using RFID and BIM
Summary of research -
The aim of this research is to create a decision support framework to track the movement of construction workers in a virtual environment using the 3D capabilities of a BIM and the tracking capabilities of RFID technology. It is expected that this framework will help construction superintendents monitor the movement of construction workers within the job site in an effort to maintain the health and safety of everyone present. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with construction superintendents were used to create the framework which was validated through a survey of construction industry professionals. A virtual prototype for tracking construction workers was created to demonstrate the viability of the proposed framework.
Training and Skills
All postgraduate research students are expected to attend the research methods seminars covering subjects such as conducting a literature review, methods of data collection, research governance and ethics, and analysis, presentation, interpretation and rigour in qualitative research.
In addition, the University offers all postgraduate research students an extensive range of free training activities to help develop their research and transferable skills. The Salford Postgraduate Research Training Programme (SPoRT) has been designed to equip researchers both for their university studies and for their future careers whether in academia, elsewhere in the public sector, or in industry and the private sector.
Completion of the Learning Agreement
The Learning Agreement will be the focus of your first two supervision sessions and must be completed and submitted within the first 3 months of your candidature. This is not a static document and should be reviewed regularly and updated annually with your supervisor. http://www.pg.salford.ac.uk/page/general_forms
Annual Progress Report (APR)
Supervisors complete this annual report on each of the students they supervise. They provide a summary of progress to date, any issues arising, research training requirements, and overall position of the student in the lifecycle. As with the self-evaluation report, the APR is compulsory and utilised by the College PG Research Team to note any issues. More detailed information can be found at: http://www.pg.salford.ac.uk/page/general_forms
Self Evaluation Report
This report enables you to reflect upon your progress on an annual basis, as well as reporting on supervisory and facilities arrangements. The report goes to the College PG Research Team who will note any issues arising from the evaluation so that they can addressed in an appropriate way.
Completion of the Self Evaluation is compulsory.
It is important for students to reflect on a regular basis on their own progress, as it gives the opportunity to ‘stand back’ from the detail of the doctoral research and assess the extent to which this is progressing in a coherent and focused manner. In comparing actual progress with the predicted progress set out in the Learning Agreement, you can provide a considered statement of how and where the research is going, and identify any problem areas, potential or actual.
Equally, the Self-Evaluation Report is an opportunity to comment upon supervisory support and Research Centre facilities. It is important that students provide an honest appraisal in order for us to be in a position to respond to any issues and to continually review and enhance the student experience. More detailed information can be found at: http://www.pg.salford.ac.uk/page/general_forms
The interim assessment is the first formal point along the MPhil/PhD and DProf (research component) programmes where the progression of the student is assessed by independent experts and a decision is made as to whether the student should continue or transfer their studies to a higher or lower award.
The interim assessment takes place between months 9 and 11 for full-time students, months 15 and 20 if you are part-time; and months 11 to 13 if you are on split sites. This time frame ensures that should you need to repeat your assessment, you have time to do so before your deadline for registration for the following year.
For students registered on the MPhil programme the interim assessment provides an opportunity to transfer to the higher award PhD programme. For existing PhD/DProf students the assessment determines whether students continue on the PhD/DProf programme or are recommended to be transferred to a lower award.
As a PGR student, you will be required to present a short paper about your research project describing your progress and plans for the future. You will also have the option of attending an oral examination. A Guide to Interim Assessment and the documentation you require can be found at http://www.pg.salford.ac.uk/page/general_forms
The Internal Evaluation is the second formal point along the PhD and DProf (research component) programmes where the progression of the student is assessed by independent experts and a decision is made as to whether the student should continue on their programme or transfer to a programme with a lower award (MPhil).
Your Internal Evaluation (IE) will take place between months 21 and 23 of your candidature if you are a full-time student; months 35 and 40 if you are part-time; and months 24 to 26 if you are on split sites. This time frame ensures you are able to repeat your evaluation, should it be required, before your deadline for registration for the following year.
The evaluation of a student’s progress is important at this juncture to determine whether the student has developed their research to a sufficient standard that will lead to a PhD/DProf award. Where progress is sub-standard (and would not achieve the level of the higher PhD or lower MPhil award) the Internal Evaluation panel have the authority to recommend termination of a student’s candidature. A Guide to Internal Evaluation and the documentation you require can be found at http://www.pg.salford.ac.uk/page/general_forms