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Professor Li Joins Costain On Secondment

22 September 2016

Costain is pleased to announce that Chenfeng Li, Associate Professor of Engineering at Swansea University, is joining Costain on a 12-month secondment.

Prof Li specialises in computer simulation as the basis for reliability engineering. His work embraces the fields of deformation, fracture, energy, mass transport, data-driven stochastic modelling and probabilistic engineering.  While at Costain, he will help to develop practical applications in the use of computational modelling in engineering design assurance and structural reliability.

His secondment was enabled by a grant under the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industrial Secondment scheme, and will start on 30 September. As well as his academic commitments, nearly half of Prof Li’s time will be dedicated to Costain, giving the Company a new approach to finding solutions for its customers.

“As an academic in Civil Engineering, I feel truly honoured to have this opportunity to work with the industry leading Costain Group,” said Prof Li.

He added: “Thanks to the support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Sêr Cymru National Research Network, the secondment will open a window for me and the research group to explore real world engineering challenges, rather than searching for unsolved problems. I’m excited and looking forward to starting work with Costain.”

Prof Li currently supervises a group of 10 PhD students - across the discipline of computational methods in Civil Engineering.

His team’s research themes underscore the breadth of applications of computational mechanics and fluid dynamics in the assessment of engineered systems, allowing a broad range of challenges in the infrastructure industries to be modelled. System responses can then be assessed, leading to the design of optimal controls for management.

Applications include control of work at height with loads, enclosed public spaces and crowd control, response plans for airports and train stations in emergencies, traffic control, pressurised vessels and stored energy systems, tunnel ventilation, coastal flood defence. In short, wherever the behaviour of a complex system needs to be predicted.

Costain’s Conleth Unaeze, a Quality Engineer and one of Prof Li’s PhD students, said: “The need to develop reliability engineered solutions to support our safe systems of work cannot be overstated. The application of computational mechanics and fluid dynamics covers a broad range of disciplines, and when harnessed, will enhance our assurance processes and deliver added benefits to our customers.”

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Industrial Secondment Scheme provides an invaluable opportunity for early- to mid-career academics to undertake a collaborative research project in an industrial environment. The scheme aims to strengthen the strategic relationship between the university and the industry host by providing an opportunity to establish or enhance collaborative research between the two parties.

Bill Hewlett, Costain’s Group Technical Director, who will be working closely with Prof Li, said: “Prof Li’s Royal Academy of Engineering secondment is an endorsement of his world-leading expertise in his subject area, as well as a major coup for Costain. This placement underpins our commitment to, and ability to work with, world leaders in their subjects and provide new and innovative solutions in support of our customers’ businesses.”



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