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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Prof Bisby speaks at Royal Academy of Engineering Research Forum 2013 - live tweets

More to follow... 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Edinburgh SFPE Student Chapter

We are pleased to announce the formation of the Edinburgh SFPE Student Chapter.

The Edinburgh SFPE Student Chapter is an association of research students within the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at The University of Edinburgh. The Fire Group of Edinburgh is a world-renowned centre for fire research composed of international researchers with a multidisciplinary background. The research undertaken by the members covers the areas of fire science and fire safety engineering.

The foundation of the Student Chapter was motivated by the opportunity for improved cooperation among the fire safety engineering students at The University of Edinburgh and other SFPE Student Chapters, and to increase dissemination of our research output.

The objectives of the Student Chapter are to:
  • Enhance the existing research environment within the group in order to foster the generation of new ideas and constructive feedback.
  • Educate Undergraduate students on the opportunities for further study in the field of fire safety engineering.
  • Encourage the involvement of Undergraduate and Master’s students in the group’s on-going research.
  • Strengthen the bond between Alumni and current students from The University of Edinburgh.
  • Foster collaborative relations with other Student Chapters and fire research groups.
  • Establish alternative paths for accessing fire related literature resources.
In order to achieve these objectives, the Student Chapter will run a series of activities such as seminars, invited speakers and social events. Seminars will cover fire safety engineering topics and will be led by lecturers, PhD students and alumni.

The idea for creating this Chapter was first proposed by our former lecturer and colleague Dr Guillermo Rein who is currently a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at Imperial College London.  This idea was seized upon by the PhD students John Gales, Juan Hidalgo, Shaun Devaney, Ryan Hilditch, Zafiris Triantafyllidis and Martyn McLaggan supported by Professor Luke Bisby.

The Chapter will commence running activities and enrolling new students with the beginning of the academic year. On September 17th we will take the chance to introduce the Chapter to the Edinburgh student body after the seminar given by John Gales at 1pm in the AGB Seminar Room.

We would like to invite any student with an interest in any aspect of fire safety engineering to attend the seminar.

The Chapter’s committee.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Journal of Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Technology to Merge

Two of the world's leading peer-reviewed applied fire safety journals, the Journal of Fire Protection Engineering and Fire Technology, will merge effective January 1, 2014. The merged journal, of which five members of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering are Editorial Board Members or Associate Editors, will carry the name Fire Technology, and the publication frequency will increase from quarterly to bimonthly. Online access to Fire Technology will be provided free-ofcharge to members of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE), a new student chapter of which has recently launched at Edinburgh.

Fire Technology spans a range of fire safety science and engineering problems in industrial, operational, cultural, and environmental applications. Topics include materials testing, fire modeling, detection and suppression, performance standards, human behavior, and fire risk analysis. Coverage extends to fire safety science, fire protection engineering, fire research, fire risk analysis, fire investigation, municipal fire protection, wildland fires, loss statistics, and related subjects.

We look forward to the significant increase in quantity and quality of fire safety engineering publications that this merger promises to deliver!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Workshop on 11th July: Probabilistic Approaches in Fire Safety Engineering

Please come join the Probabilistic Approaches in Fire Safety Engineering workshop on Thursday, 11th July in the AGB seminar room. The workshop aims to explore the use of probabilistic approaches in fire related research. Probabilistic analysis is a widely used technique for characterising the uncertainties in a system and is widely used in various engineering disciplines for calculating probabilities of failure. It is well suited to fire safety engineering due to the large variations that are inherent in fire spread and fire behaviour.

Prof. Ramachandran is a distinguished guest speaker at the workshop. Prof. Ramachandran is one of the leading researchers in the area of probabilistic fire risk assessment and has published on topics such as fire loss, reliability, fire spread and fire resistance. He has published numerous papers, several book chapters, two books, and is one of the co-authors of BS7974, Part 7, 2003 on Probabilistic Risk Assessment. 

Probabilistic Approaches in Fire Safety Engineering Workshop Programme
[Thursday 11th July, Alexander Graham Bell (AGB) Seminar room  (top floor, AGB building)]

[12:30] Registration

[13:00] Sandwich lunch

[13:30] Invited Seminar: Quantitative Risk Assessment Approach to Performance–Based Building Designs for Fire Safety (by Prof. Ramachandran, University of Leeds)

[14:30] Presentation by Prof. Asif Usmani: Uncertainty and its likely implications on Fire Safety Engineering

[14:45] Coffee break

[15:15] Break-out discussion session (Prof.  Ramachandran to comment on each group discussion)
            Group A  (AGB, rm 3.05)
            Cristian Maluk : H-TRIS: Moving away from the status quo
            Ryan Hilditch: Smoke Management for Modern Infrastructure - Entrainment Outside of the Lab
            Zaid Al-Azzawi: Fatigue Performance of Steel Plate Girders Retrofitted with FRP Shear  Strengthening A Probabilistic Approach
            Prof. Asif Usmani  
            Dr. Eric Marchant
            Pauline Pouymayou
            Group B (AGB, Seminar room)
            Dr. David Lange : Reliability testing of loaded timber elements in fire
            Ieuan RickardExplosive Spalling of Tunnel Linings
            Mohamed Kiari: Design of a FRP-reinforced concrete beam system for Fire Performance 
            Dr. Tim Stratford          
            Martyn Mclaggan
            Jian Zhang
            Group C  (William Rankine, rm 3.23)
            Juan Hidalgo Fire performance of thermal insulation materials and one year of devotion to fire science
            Shaun DevaneyDevelopment of Reliability based Software for Structural Fire Engineering
            Prof. Luke Bisby
            Tony O’Donnell
            Zafiris Triantafyllidis
            Dr. Martin Gillie
            Group D  (William Rankine, Fishbowl)
            Emma Reid : Fire Performance of FRP Reinforced Concrete: Understanding Bond Deterioration at Elevated Temperature
            Dr. Stephen Welch:FireGrid - tackling fire hazard uncertainties with live measurements
            Dr. Rory Hadden: Probabilistic Approaches to Fire Investigation
            Prof. Dougal Drysdale
            Dr. Juan Echeverria
            Michal Krajcovic

[16:00] Group discussion sum-up

Anyone interested in probabilistic approaches to fire safety engineering all welcome to the workshop. We hope the workshop to be filled with fruitful discussion: so please come join!

Please feel free to contact our co-organisers if you are willing to attend or interested in making a short presentation, a good estimate of attenders will help us order catering and organise this workshop:

Holly Smith ( , Liming Jiang (

Monday, June 03, 2013

New Professor of Fire Safety Engineering at Edinburgh

We are pleased to announce that Dr Albert Simeoni, currently Associate Professor at WPI in the USA, has been appointed as the BRE Chair in Fire Safety Engineering, and will be joining us from July 2013.

Monday, April 08, 2013



If you are home fees student (i.e. British resident) interested in doing a PhD in Fire Safety Engineering at Edinburgh, please get in touch with Luke Bisby ( for more information.

There are currently a number of opportunities for well-qualified students!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

15th IStructE Young Researchers' Conference

On 14 March 2013, the 15th Annual Young Researchers’ Conference took place at the IStructE International HQ in London. It was attended by 71 postgraduate students from across the UK including Fabio Battistini, Payam Khazaeinejad, Mohamed Kiari, Cristian Maluk, Emma McIntyre, Ieuan Rickard and Holly Smith from the University of Edinburgh. There were also a number of experienced industry and research based professionals to lead the judging. The conference was started with a warm welcome from Ian Firth (Vice President of the IStructE) and was followed by an interesting Keynote Address from Emeritus Professor David Nethercot (Imperial College London) where he discussed the benefits of engineering research.  The eight oral presentations were split into three sections: Use of Structural Steel, Catastrophic Structural Collapse and Novel Material Use. There was a particularly interesting talk from Joseph Gattas on “Morphing Origami Panels: Geometry and Construction” where they sought to manipulate materials to allow for collapsible and patchable structures for use by the Ministry of Defence. In both presentations and posters there were four fire related topics, with three from the University of Edinburgh. Holly Smith presented her PhD entitled Punching Shear of Reinforced Concrete Slabs in Fire, Cristian Maluk presented his poster entitled Study of Heat-Induced Concrete Spalling Using a Novel Fire Testing Methodology and Emma McIntyre presented her poster entitled Fire Performance of FRP Reinforced Concrete: Bond Deterioration at Elevated Temperature. 

Oral & Poster Presenter Winners with IStructE Vice President Ian Firth
There were prizes in both the oral and presentation categories with Holly placing second and Emma placing joint 1st respectively. There were both awarded £300 and a book entitled Biomimicry in Architecture by Michael Pawlyn. The Young Researchers’ Conference is always a thoroughly enjoyable day with a vast array of topics to be debated, and a great networking opportunity for young postgraduates.

 The 2013 Conference was sponsored by Arup, Atkins, Flint & Neill, Ramboll, S-FRAME Software (UK) Ltd, The Institution of Civil Engineers and The Institution of Structural Engineers Research Fund.

Emma McIntyre & Holly Smith

(Photo taken from IStructE Website:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Structural Fire Testing in the 18th Century

The following is a re-print of a featured article that we wrote that was published in this month's Fire Safety Science News (IAFSS). The issue can be downloaded in full here:

A digitisation project to archive early fire test reports (with both structural fire engineering and fire dynamics considered) is underway at the University of Edinburgh and the digitised documents will soon be publicly accessible (A September target this year). This collection of historical documents forms the basis of our current understanding in fire science and engineering and provides context for many current research questions. Summarised below is one fascinating example of the records that will be preserved in the archive. The following accounts illustrate some of the issues with using fire test results obtained in small compartments to design fire protection for large compartments in real buildings. Today, 200 years later, fire scientists and engineers still wrestle with how real fires influence real structures.

Charles Mahon can be considered as one of the first scientists to test and attempt to rationally understand the behaviour of a building exposed to fire. In 1777, at the age of 25, Mahon developed principles and a system for fire protection of timber buildings. His hypothesis was that a plaster made of water, sand, lime, and hay could be applied to timber elements to provide fire protection. Given that party walls had begun to show good ability at stopping horizontal fire spread, Mahon concerned himself with the ability to stop vertical fire spread in a building by compartmentalising rooms. Given the damage caused by conflagrations at the time, Mahon aimed to halt the progress of fires without reliance on water. In his words [1]:

“… to show how effectually even a wooden building, if secured according to my new method would stop the progress of the flames on that side, without any assistance from fire-engines.” – C. Mahon

Mahon constructed a two-storey structure (compartments of approx. 8m x 5m), and tested it under exposure to fire. The lower room of the building was filled with wood shavings and furniture pieces then set alight. Neither pyrometers nor thermocouples were available at the time to measure temperatures – Mahon also never reported the duration of the fires. There was therefore no quantitative way to measure heat transmission through the floors or walls. Mahon instead attempted to demonstrate the ‘lack’ of heat transmission through the floor in what must be considered a very peculiar manner. During the test, and incredibly, Mahon entertained guests on the floor above the fire compartment. Delegates included William Pitt (previously Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), the President of the Royal Society, the Lord Mayor of London, and several foreign ministers – each guest was given ice cream to enjoy as the fire raged below them [2]. The fire was sufficiently hot to melt the windows on the lower room. The floor boards of the lower room remained intact, but were charred – however more importantly to Mahon and his guests, no discomfort was experienced as they socialized and ate ice cream directly above the inferno. Indeed, it was alleged that some of the guests decided to walk around the room barefoot during the experiment to test whether they could feel heat from the fire. Little science in this experiment existed outside qualitative observation; no quantitative analysis of the fire or the structural reactions were made. Mahon’s fireproofing plaster was not patented – probably owing to its similarity to other common plasters used at the time. However, applying plaster for the purpose of fire protection (and indeed considering the need for fire protection) was deemed novel during the Georgian era. 

The plaster was advocated for use in construction by the Associated Architects Committee in 1793 [3] based upon the results of repeated fire tests conducted by a group of researchers headed by Henry Holland. However, Mahon’s test conditions were not replicated identically in these tests. Holland’s research group changed the composition of the plaster by adding plaster of Paris, screened rubbish, brick debris, coal ashes and other materials in order to make strong cement. They also procured a Georgian town house (dimensions unavailable) and subjected each room to compartment fires. Holland varied the fuel load in each room by using charcoal, tar and wood. The ventilation conditions were also varied to control flaming during these ‘repeat’ tests. No measurements were made to assess the severity of the test fires; however the duration of each test was recorded and ranged between 1 and nearly 4 h. Some observations suggested issues with the plaster’s ability to withstand fire (the plaster was found to dry out and crumble), but it was felt that, since the fires did not propagate to adjacent rooms, the performance of the plaster was satisfactory. Holland concluded, without attempting to experiment and giving no justification, that the amount of fire protection should be doubled in buildings requiring more security from fire. Quoting the report:

“In buildings that require a more than ordinary degree of security,… [Any] means of prevention, must be doubled; in which case, the committee are warranted to say, that it will effectually resist the strongest fire.” – H. Holland

In 1794, Mahon`s plaster (as well as several other fireproofing technologies of the time) was used in the construction of floors and stairs in the mostly timber-framed Drury Lane Theatre (Theatre Royal) in London. Henry Holland, who was responsible for the 1793 fire tests, was retained as the architect of the theatre [4]. The Drury Lane Theatre was considered the most advanced fire-proofed building of the time. Four water reservoirs were installed on the roof in order to quell any fire that could occur. However, during theatrical performances, these reservoirs served another purpose: the tanks were used to produce real waterfalls and lakes on stage – at the expense of fire fighting. An iron curtain was also installed to separate the stage from the audience, but after 15 years it was said to be rusted and non-functional. In 1809, the theatre caught fire while its water tanks were empty [5] and the fireproofing was insufficient to protect the building. The building collapsed within 30 min – there was no reported life loss (Figure 1).

The Drury Lane Theatre during and after fire, from Londina Illustrata circa 1825.

Henry Holland passed away in 1806; therefore little historical commentary on the effect of the fireproofing measures at the Drury Lane Theatre survives today. Aside from providing an interesting ice cream anecdote, the above story reminds us of some dangers in misinterpreting or over interpreting structural fire test results. The collapse of the Drury Lane Theatre illustrates the need to ensure that fire protection technologies are appropriately designed for the conditions to which they will be exposed (fuel load, ventilation conditions, scale, etc). Although fire science and engineering have evolved significantly since the work of Mahon and Holland, we are still today wrestling with the concept of how real fires influence real structural behaviour. This story therefore deserves preservation as a cautionary tale in fire engineering. Digitised copies of the public domain reports which have been used to construct this article will be featured on the Open Access Historical Documents of Fire Safety Engineering Collection when the project officially launches ( 

Acknowledgements: This digitisation project has been sponsored by a University of Edinburgh Alumni Innovation Initiative Grant 2012-13. Thanks to Audrey Roy-Poirier and Luke Bisby for providing comments on this article.

1. Mahon. Philosophical transactions 68:2. July 1778
2. Public Characters. Vol 3. 603 pp. 1801.
3. Holland. Resolutions of Associated Architects. 1793.
4. Carter. Journal of Society of Architectural Historians. 26(3). 1967.
5. Sheppard. Survey of London. 1970.

Monday, March 11, 2013

PhD Studentship in the Sociology of Fire Safety

ITSAFE studentship

Applications are invited for a +3-year PhD studentship, funded by the University of Edinburgh’s College of Humanities and Social Science, to investigate a fire safety related topic. This studentship is available as part of the Integrating Social and Technical Aspects of Fire Safety Engineering and Expertise (IT-SAFE) project, which is supported by the University of Edinburgh, The Ove Arup Foundation, and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Potential topics include the following:

A history of fire regulation and disasters
Fire safety and regulatory lock-in: an inter- and intra-national comparative study
Practice and rule-followingin the application of building codes for fire safety
Socio-economic factors, household practices, and fire risk
The effect of Homes in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) legislation on fire deaths in the UK
A sociology of fire safety knowledge
Simulation and human factors in evacuation planning
Smart homes, ICTs, and fire safety
Do fire safety regulations impede environmentally-friendly buildings?
The role of insurance companies and risk assessment in fire safety practice
Firefighters, architects, and lay/expert knowledge: boundary work, professional interests, and fire safety implementation
What does it mean to be a firefighter?
Users, the ‘responsible person’, and day-to-day ‘enactment’ of building regulations

Potential applicants might be interested inthis lecture by former University of Edinburgh Professor, Jose Torero:

Applicants should hold a good first degree, and may be expected to undertake further training as part of the first year.This PhD will be supervised by Professor Robin Williams and Dr Graham Spinardi.

Informal inquiries and expressions of interest including a short CV can be directed towards

For more information about Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh, see:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Arup Professor of Fire and Structures

Arup is supporting the five year appointment of Dr Luke Bisby as the first Arup Professor of Fire and Structures at the University of Edinburgh.

The appointment follows on from Dr Bisby’s prior appointment as the Ove Arup Foundation/Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellow in Structures in Fire.

The aim of this new appointment is to help move the concept of structural fire engineering from a specialist interest area to a core engineering discipline which is fully integrated into the building design process. When realized, this will benefit the design and construction of the built environment through a combination of capital cost reductions, improved safety and structural resilience, enhanced property protection and business continuity, greater overall sustainability and structural optimization.
“Arup has been the acknowledged world leader in performance based fire engineering for more than four decades and I am delighted to take up this inaugural role at Edinburgh University. My work will benefit Arup through early access to research results and from an ability to request research in support of specific commercial needs. In turn, my research group will benefit from insights into real engineering problems.”
Dr Luke Bisby
“Despite great advances in knowledge during the past three decades, in most cases the design of structures to resist the effects of fires remains surprisingly over-simplified; relatively little performance based structural engineering is performed during the fire safety design of a building. The work Dr Bisby undertakes in his new role will be invaluable in developing an improved understanding of the impacts of fire in the built environment and, as fire engineers, we will be able to respond to cutting edge research to continually improve our work.”
Barbara Lane, Director, Arup

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Friday, March 01, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 29 Video Blog

Thursday 28th February 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 28 Video Blog

Wednesday 27th February 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 27 Video Blog

Tuesday 26th February 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 26 Video Blog

Monday 25th February 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 25+ Video Blog

Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd February 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 24 Video Blog

Thursday 21st February 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 23 Video Blog

Wednesday 20th February 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 22 Video Blog

Tuesday 19th February 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 21 Video Blog

Monday 18th February 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 20+ Video Blog

Friday 15th and Saturday 16th February 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 19 Video Blog

Thursday 14th February 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Days 17 and 18 Video Blog

Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th February 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 16 Video Blog

Monday 11th February 2013

(Presented by Agustin Majdalani. Sorry, forgot to add his name to the video.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 15 Video Blog

Friday 8th February 2013

(Apologies in advance for the erratic posting of video blogs for the next week, I'll be away)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 14 Video Blog

Thursday 7th February 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 13 Video Blog

Wednesday 6th February 2013

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Days 11 and 12 Video Blogs

Monday 4th February 2013

Tuesday 5th February 2013

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 9 Video Blog

Thursday 31st January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 8 Video Blog

Wednesday 30th January 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 7 Video Blog

Tuesday 29th January 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 5 Video Blog

Friday 25th January 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 4 Video Blog

Thursday 24th January 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 3 Video Blog

Wednesday 23rd January 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 2 Video Blog

Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Edinburgh Travelling Fire Tests: Day 1 Video Blog

Monday 21st January 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Unique Opportunity to Lead a World-Class Research Centre

Applications for the BRE Chair in Fire Safety Engineering at Edinburgh

Vacancy Details
BRE Research Chair in Fire Safety Engineering
Vacancy Ref: : 009143 Closing Date : 20-Feb-2013
Contact Person : Professor Luke Bisby Contact Number : 0131 650 5710
Contact Email :
The establishment of the BRE Centre of Excellence in Fire Safety Engineering has been extremely successful, both in terms of research and educational outcomes. It brings together the UK’s two most prestigious fire research and educational institutions, both of which have acclaimed international status in this field. The formation of this Centre has represented an innovation for the UK which has since been emulated with the creation of four additional BRE Centres of Excellence in research areas associated with the built environment in other UK universities. BRE Global Ltd and BRE Ltd are owned by the BRE Trust.

To continue its policy of investment in excellent people, the School of Engineering seeks to appoint the BRE Research Chair in Fire Safety Engineering. You will have an internationally evident research track record in fire safety engineering with an emphasis on combustion and/or fire dynamics relevant to fire safety in the built environment. You will contribute to teaching in the School of Engineering, particularly in areas relevant to Fire Safety Engineering.

The BRE Trust ( which supports the BRE Chair in Fire Safety Engineering, is a research and education charity for the public benefit, registered by the Charity Commission (registered charity number 1092193). It was created to ensure that BRE remains independent of specific commercial interests, and retains its reputation for objectivity and impartiality in research and consultancy. All of the companies owned by the BRE Trust contribute their profits to supporting the Trust’s mission to promote and support excellence and innovation in the built environment for the benefit of all.

The BRE Trust achieves this by funding and managing a strategic research programme in the built environment sector. Fire protection research, consultancy, testing and certification activities are undertaken by BRE Global Ltd which incorporates the Fire Research Station (FRS) and the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and has been a world leader in fire safety research since its establishment in 1947 and recognised as the UK’s national fire research and fire safety centre. It continues to be involved with major fire incident investigations which have included Flixborough, Ronan Point, Summerland, Piper Alpha, Kings Cross, the Channel Tunnel fires and more recently the Rose Park Care Home and Atherstone on Stour.


The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition in Fire Safety Engineering research and education and is recognised internationally for its work over the last forty years. This has been characterised by innovative research and the education of several of the current leaders in the field. The programme was considerably increased in both size and breadth during the past decade by the development of new state-of-the-art experimental facilities (Fire Labs I & II); the refurbishment of space for Fire & Structures research; and the addition of four new academic staff members in support of the Structures and Fire degree courses. The Fire Safety Engineering Group at the School of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh ( is involved in a wide range of research subjects and is also deeply involved in setting the direction for the practice of Fire Safety Engineering globally. Their objective is to develop a co-ordinated approach to performance-based Fire Safety Engineering Design. This work may be subdivided in several focus areas, including:

• Fire dynamics (ignition and fire growth)
• Fire behaviour of materials
• Fire modelling and integrated numerical simulation
• Fire Safety Engineering methodology
• Structural Fire Engineering


At present the School of Engineering offers a number of courses directly related to Fire Safety Engineering. These include:

• The BEng/MEng in Structural Engineering with Fire Safety;
• The MSc in Structural and Fire Engineering (SAFE); and
• The Erasmus Mundus joint International MSc in Fire Safety Engineering (joint with Lund and Ghent).

The BRE Centre currently organises two Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses through The University’s Office for Lifelong Learning (; one on ‘Fire Science and Fire Investigation’, and another on ‘Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design’. The successful candidate would be expected to participate and take the initiative in new CPD ventures.


You will be expected to contribute to research in the Institute for Infrastructure and the Environment and teaching and administration in the School of Engineering. You will be expected to:

• identify and propagate visions for new research
• generate substantial external research funding and deliver significant output
• lead and expand a group of academics, research staff and PhD students
• publish in quality peer-reviewed research journals
• contribute to teaching to masters level, in the School of Engineering, particularly in areas relevant to Fire Safety Engineering.
• undertake appropriate administrative duties
• contribute to the intellectual wealth and collegiate environment of the School.

Responsibilities: Research and Leadership

You will initiate, perform and deliver fundamental and applied research that complements and integrates with other appropriate research areas in the School.

You will be expected to:

1. Initiate, plan, lead, perform and deliver research into fire safety engineering. The University of Edinburgh aims to retain and expand its international position in this research domain.
2. Demonstrate and deliver internationally-evident quality research, leadership and publishing activity.
3. Generate UK, European and international funding to support this research and establish it in the world arena.
4. Lead and expand a vibrant and interactive group of academics, research staff and PhD students within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment.
5. Develop graduating fire safety engineering professionals and early career researchers, by means of BEng, MEng, MSc teaching and doctoral training.
6. Create, lead and participate in collaborative research projects.
7. Include in the above collaborative research projects relevant industrial partners.
8. Participate in Knowledge Exchange using standard University policies and procedures.

Responsibilities: Teaching

The School’s degrees in Civil Engineering are accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (The Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and the Institute of Highway Engineers). In addition to the degrees associated with fire safety engineering, the School also offers the following:

• Civil Engineering (H804/H800)
• Structural and Fire Safety Engineering (H225/H224)
• Structural Engineering with Architecture (H225/H224)

You will be expected to provide vision and leadership in the ongoing development and delivery of courses on degrees with particular emphasis on Fire Safety Engineering.

You would be expected to participate and take the initiative in new CPD ventures such as those currently organised by the BRE Centre through The University’s Office for Lifelong Learning ( ‘Fire Science and Fire Investigation’; ‘Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design’.

Further details are available on the undergraduate degree programmes are available from the School website and the University websites. The School runs a growing range of successful MSc programmes on which the candidate will be expected to contribute teaching and project supervision.

Responsibilities: Administration

You will become the Director of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering and will also be expected to undertake and deliver senior administrative duties within the Institute and School or in the wider University environment, where appropriate.


You will be expected to meet the following essential requirements:

• The vision to generate and deliver an internationally recognised research agenda in Fire Safety Engineering.
• An internationally-evident reputation for performing quality research in areas relevant to fire safety Engineering and its implementation, including a record of obtaining funding for research (particular attention will be paid to applicants with expertise in fire dynamics, and/or combustion).
• A significant number of high quality peer-reviewed journal publications.
• Demonstrable success in winning research funding, team building and delivery of research outcomes, including collaborative research with industry.
• Demonstrated excellent academic and research leadership.
• Excellence and commitment as a motivated and proficient educator in Higher Education.
• The ability to teach required subjects with highest proficiency across the range of teaching provision.
• Excellent communication, presentation and organisational skills and high proficiency in written and oral English language.

Desirable Requirements

• Significant experience of working with industry on both research and consultancy projects and managing/maintaining growing industrial partnerships.


Fire Safety Engineering research is conducted within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment:

The Institute is shaping the development of better technologies to improve the built and natural environments. In addition to the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, the Institute conducts similarly excellent activities in the following areas:

• Fire Safety Engineering (including fire initiation and propagation, fire growth, compartment fire dynamics, fire chemistry and material flammability and the structural response of materials and buildings to fire conditions);
• Structural Engineering (including theoretical, computational and experimental research covering shell structures; granular solids mechanics and handling, structural mechanics in medicine, and FRPs in structural engineering);
• Non-Destructive Testing (including NDT of concrete and masonry bridges, NDT of railway trackbed, forward numerical modelling of NDT);
• Construction Management (including construction process simulation and management); and
• Environmental Engineering (including membrane technologies, water and wastewater treatment, and water treatment for developing countries).

The Institute is located in the Alexander Graham Bell building (opened in 2004) and the William Rankine building (opened in 2006) and currently has eighteen FTE academic staff, including six Professors, two Readers, six Senior Lecturers and four Lecturers.

Laboratory Facilities

There are nine main teaching and research laboratories in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Those directly relevant to the current post include:

• Fire Lab I – The Rushbrook Fire Safety Laboratory (including cone calorimeter, 0.5MW furniture hood, and Flame Propagation Apparatus);
• Fire Lab II – The Fire and Materials Laboratory (including high temperature mechanical and thermal characterisation equipment);
• The Structures Large Test Hall (recently underwent a £500K refurbishment and now allows for medium-scale structural fire tests using radiant panel arrays); and
• The Light Structures and Materials "Clean" Laboratory.

Access to other equipment for e.g. mass spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, etc, are available within the School of Engineering.

Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics

The School of Engineering is a founder member of the Edinburgh Research Partnership in engineering and mathematics (ERPem), a consortium involving the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University, set up in 2006 with SFC/OST investment. The ERPem is organised into six Joint Research Institutes (JRIs) dedicated to world-class research, innovation and education in engineering and mathematical science. The long-term vision of ERPem is to be the prime vehicle for world-leading research in Engineering and Mathematical Sciences carried out at the participating institutions, and one which is recognised worldwide as a centre of excellence in these disciplines.

The Joint Research Institutes are in the areas of:

• Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Signal and Image Processing
• Mathematical Sciences
• Subsurface Science and Engineering
• Energy
• Integrated Systems (Precision Optical, Electronic and Miniature Systems)

Each of the six JRIs combines the relevant academic staff, postdoctoral research fellows and their graduate students from the partner Universities into a single joint research institute, significantly enhancing research capacity and scale.


This role is grade UE10 Professorial (range £54,826 to 91,978). Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month.

The positions are open to candidates of all nationalities. Those who would enhance the diversity of the School in terms of nationality and/or gender are particularly encouraged to apply.

If relocation within the UK is required, the University will reimburse the successful candidate for vouched expenditure, within an overall upper limit of £3,000. If relocation from overseas is required, a contribution will be made towards vouched expenditure.

The University recognises that it may be advantageous that the successful candidate should be able to accept, within reasonable limits, consultancies or other paid employment outwith their University appointment. Permission to undertake such activities will not be withheld unnecessarily but it is a condition of the appointment that such employment may be undertaken only with the express approval of the Head of School.

The taking up of references (which will occur without notice unless otherwise requested) is selective and does not imply a decision that the application will be placed on the final short-list for interviews.

Applicants will be informed as to whether they have been shortlisted or not, but we may not be in a position to give detailed feedback to those not shortlisted.


Eligibility to work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work visit

This post meets UK Border Agency criteria for sponsorship by the University of Edinburgh. Even if you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, it may be possible for the University of Edinburgh to sponsor you to obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa to enable you to take up the appointment should you be successful at interview.

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is located at

However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to UK Border Agency rules you can cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your leave has expired or lapsed.


Applicants may be made online at The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a c.v. In your application please include a covering letter which highlights, with evidence, how you meet all of the essential criteria and any of the desirable criteria you meet. Candidates will be short-listed and interviewed based on how they meet these criteria.


Informal enquiries are welcome: please contact Professor Asif Usmani (+44 (0)131 6505789 or or Prof. Luke Bisby (+44 (0)131 6505710 or

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
The School of Engineering
The integrated School of Engineering was formed in 2002 from the various individual departments to address diverse and complex challenges across the entire field of engineering, at the micro- and macroscopic/global scales. At the microscopic scale, its research supports the design and deployment of novel nanotechnology and devices for biological monitoring and medical diagnosis; at the macro/global scale, it optimises the security and sustainability of the built environment and develops engineering solutions to issues raised by climate change. The Vision of the School is the achievement of excellence across each of its five research areas, from the science and mathematics that underpin engineering research, to its industrial and commercial applications and four teaching disciplines, all accredited by the professional Engineering Institutes. Not only was the School ranked third (Research Fortnight Power Analysis) in General Engineering in the UK Research Assessment Exercise (2008), but it also has a strong track record in producing more than 50 technology spin-outs and developing industry links that enable our graduates to build relationships that last a whole career. In 2011/2012 the School was successful in achieving £28m research awards/income.
The School is one of the largest in the University, comprising over 150 staff and over 350 postgraduate, 140 MSc and 1,400 undergraduate students. The School occupies approximately 10,000 m2 in over ten buildings on the University’s King's Buildings site in South Edinburgh.
Each member of academic staff teaches in one of four engineering disciplines and is a member of a Research Institute:
Research Institutes
• Digital Communications
• Energy Systems
• Infrastructure and Environment
• Integrated Micro and Nano Systems
• Materials and Processes
Teaching disciplines
• Chemical Engineering
• Civil & Environmental Engineering
• Electrical Engineering & Electronics
• Mechanical Engineering
The School currently offers 43 degree programme titles including combined degrees with Computer Science, Management and Architecture. The School offers the four year BEng and five year MEng degree programmes, all accredited by the professional institutions, and 10 taught MSc degrees.
Facilities and Centres
UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre is a virtual hub that brings together UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) researchers and acts as a two-way interface between the academic community and key stakeholders (e.g. government, industry and potential international collaborators).
The Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy will train 50 engineering doctorate students over nine years in all aspects of Offshore Renewable Energy.
The UK All-Waters Combined Current and Wave Test Facility for wave and tidal devices will be operational by 2013 and will enhance the University’s leadership in low-carbon energy research.
The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering hosts bespoke equipment to support research and consultancy with precisely controlled high temperatures and the latest image analysis techniques.
The recently refurbished Structures Test Hall is our high-headroom lab for testing large and unusual assemblies. There are state-of-the-art lab facilities for developing and testing NDE and material handling technologies, a smart infrastructure lab and a good range of environmental engineering testing resources for the water and waste management sectors.
The School of Engineering is a partner in SynthSys, the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology which is an interdisciplinary research environment with members across many Research Institutes, Colleges and Schools, including The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and BioSS. It aims to pioneer genetic and chemical tools to manipulate the cell, technologies to quantify responses at the single-cell level, and mathematical models to predict and control cellular behaviour.
College of Science and Engineering (
The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University’s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King’s Buildings. The College has over 2,700 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, 800 taught postgraduates and 1,500 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income (£130M in 2001/12), and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008
In the 2008 RAE over 600 research active staff were returned. 96% of the College submission was of international quality in its originality, significance and rigour with 66% of the submission being rated internationally excellent.
The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible.

We still do. The latest Research Assessment Exercise highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence.

As a member of staff you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 22 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 500 undergraduate and 160 postgraduate courses to over 30,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 11,700 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university we are an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Interested in pursuing a PhD in Fire Safety Engineering?

A number of full PhD studentships for UK, EU, or International students are being made available through the School of Engineering at Edinburgh. If you are an academically outstanding student who is interested in applying for one of these in the area of Structural or Fire Safety Engineering, please contact Dr Luke Bisby . Additional information is available here:

And here:

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