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My PhD experience: Pam Billy Fom

“My supervisors are academics with a solid interest and capability in my area of research…I’ve found them outstanding.”

I was inspired to study for a PhD in Structural Engineering because I want to contribute to solving the impact of climate change on our built environment.

Climate change is a huge issue globally and can lead to structural deterioration of built infrastructural assets. An increasingly hostile environment – with higher temperatures and corrosive pollutant gases – is likely to affect the structural integrity and durability of assets such as steel bridges. My PhD is focused on looking at the damage being done to these assets as a result of changing environmental conditions.

In particular, I’ve investigated the potential effects of climate change on material degradation and buckling strength of steel plate elements. I have been able to demonstrate how to quantify the expected damage over time in the life of a structural asset under different emission scenarios. This points to an approach for incorporating climate change uncertainty into early stage design decisions – information that will be beneficial to both designers and infrastructure managers.

Coming from Nigeria, where I studied Civil Engineering Structures as my undergraduate degree, I was attracted to the University of Surrey because of the robust profile of the academic staff within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. My supervisors are academics with a solid interest and capability in my area of research. They have a great depth of knowledge in the field, and every meeting with them has been enriching, broadening and challenging. I’ve found them outstanding.

One of the best things about studying at Surrey is the friendly, supportive academic environment. There’s a great Researcher Development Programme, with lots of workshops and seminars on offer to help you settle quickly into your studies.

Having completed my PhD, I’d like to be part of a team researching and coming up with solutions to the impact of climate change on global infrastructure. Ultimately I’d like to develop mathematical models to help assess climate change-related deterioration and for these to be published in high impact journals.

Discover our programmes in Civil and Environmental Engineering, including our PhD Civil and Environmental Engineering.


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