Fire safety and fire-fighting in complex underground infrastructure

Project Summary

Fire safety is a key issue in modern underground infrastructure. Emergency strategies use combinations of ventilation devices and water sprays to control fire and smoke. The use of these in single, longitudinal tunnels is now reasonably well understood. However, appropriate strategies for these systems in complex networks of underground spaces, such as metro systems, have not yet been developed. This project seeks to explore these complex issues, to identify appropriate responses, and develop emergency strategies. This project exists at the intersection of systems engineering, transport engineering, fire safety engineering, fire-fighting technology, operational guidance, safety management, and contingency planning.

Project Team and where the student will be based

The project will be based in Edinburgh and supervised by Dr Ricky Carvel, an internationally recognised expert in tunnel fire safety, and co-editor/co-author of the Handbook of Tunnel Fire Safety (2nd edition, ICE publishing 2011) and Prof. Chris Johnson, Head of the School of Computer Science at Glasgow, and internationally known expert in design and implementation of safety-critical systems. Both the Edinburgh and Glasgow research groups are large, well established, and interdisciplinary.


  • Academic qualifications - Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an M.Sc Degree.
  • Experience – Experience of fire safety engineering is desirable, but not essential.
  • Skills/Attributes This project will involve extensive collaboration with various people and groups across several disciplines. The successful candidate will need to be pro-active in forging new collaborations.


Enquiries about this project should be directed to Dr Richard