PhD Studentship at University of Dundee

The city as Living Lab – Novel monitoring and ML based modelling of trees for the bioengineering of the urban environment.

Supervisory team: Dr. Matteo Ciantia (SSEN) Dr Alexandra Morel (School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law) Kevin Frediani (UoD Botanic Gardens) Dr. David Boldrin (James Hutton Institute)

Urban trees are an important nature-based solution to improve the social and environmental benefits of urban ecosystems, which are often not equitably distributed across urban landscapes. Applied research to date has largely focused on the biodiversity, carbon sequestration and wellbeing benefits of urban trees; however, their structural and physiological resilience to an increasingly stressful environment needs to be better understood to ensure safer infrastructure for public spaces. These stresses are manifold, including: elevated temperatures, air pollution, poor soil aeration, soil pollution, high pH and elevated soil salinity due to application of deicing salt in northern latitudes(1). Many of these stresses are expected to worsen with changing climate conditions, therefore, it is essential to improve practitioner understanding and monitoring of the physiological and structural responses of urban trees. Currently, hydraulic monitoring is being used to quantify tree water use in urban parklands to determine their contribution to urban hydrology as well as capture incidences of tree stress.  

The tree populations of our urban environments have been largely chosen based upon visual properties and their ease of cultivation. Apart from their ability to grow in the local soil and environmental conditions, there has been a lack of awareness or consideration of their functional traits (2). This project builds on existing research activities in the University of Dundee’s Botanic Gardens, which currently spans testing the residual properties of urban trees as resilient functional structures for the built environment to documenting the ecosystem services and functional traits of the University’s extant tree population. Already these research activities are bridging civil engineering and ecological understanding; however, the new learning from this project will help to develop metrics at the localised level that can inform decision makers and developers to select trees able to withstand these overlapping pressures, particularly in areas of high social deprivation. The project also pioneers an automated monitoring system employing dendrometer growth, soil properties, tensile strength sensors and rootplate deflection data (3) to provide early warnings of structural risks from environmental stressors, contributing to safer public spaces.

By leveraging the interdisciplinary collaboration facilitated by the Living Laboratory at the University of Dundee Botanic Garden, as well as our close working relationships with Dundee City Council, the Eden Project, and the James Hutton Institute, this project will consider:

  • 1. Establish whether observed stress responses can provide an early signal of changes in their biomechanical stability.
  • 2. Develop an early warning system for urban tree stress that would utilise real time measurements relevant to structural risk and physiological condition. Machine learning (ML) based modelling is envisaged.
  • 3. Assess the distribution of urban trees with tolerant traits across measures of social deprivation.

(1) Dmuchowski et al (2020) Strategies of urban trees for mitigating salt stress: a case study of eight plant species. Trees 36: 899-914
(2) Watkins et al (2021) Can Trait-Based Schemes Be Used to Select Species in Urban Forestry? Frontiers in Sustainable Cities. 3: 654618
(3) Marsiglia, et al (2023). Uprooting Safety Factor of Trees from Static Pulling Tests and Dynamic Monitoring. Geotechnical Engineering in the Digital and Technological Innovation Era (1 ed., pp. 218-225).

One PhD and two postdoctoral positions to study thermal effects in landslides

We are looking for three highly skilled and motivated candidates to join us in Prague, Czechia, at the Institute of Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Applied Geophysics, Faculty of Science, Charles University.

PhD position

The ideal candidate has a strong background in soil mechanics and constitutive modelling (acquired, for instance, through a degree in geotechnical engineering or equivalent, achieved with a thesis in a relevant topic). The candidate will essentially work on incorporating novel experimental insights and field data into physically-based models to reproduce and predict landslide behaviours at the slope and catchment scales (thus enabling cross-scale modelling) under thermo-hydro-mechanical boundary conditions.

– Fully funded for up to 4 years
– Net salary 1100 EUR/month (research assistant position) + PhD scholarship up to 600 EUR/month
– Full time (40 hours/week) with flexible hours, in presence
– Possibility to apply for university accommodation through the Staff Welcome Centre (
– Deadline for applications: 13 March 2024
– Start date: 1 October 2024
– Apply here:
– Review of applications will begin after the submission deadline

Postdoctoral positions

The ideal candidates have a track record, proportionate to their career stage, of publications, grants, scientific results demonstrating potential for independence in the topic of this call or a closely related one (e.g., thermo-hydro-mechanical modelling of geomaterials, landslides and climate change, slope-vegetation-atmosphere interaction).The candidates must possess outstanding skills in constitutive and numerical modelling of landslide processes at various scales and/or in advanced experimental soil mechanics, ideally with a focus on clay soils.The candidates are expected to show independent thinking and develop original solutions contributing to cross-scale modelling under thermo-hydro-mechanical boundary conditions. The specific research track of the successful applicants will be discussed based on skills, motivations, and the current project needs.

– Duration of the fellowship: 12 months; renewable based on performance
– Net salary: 1750 EUR/month (postdoctoral position)
– Full time (40 hours/week) with flexible hours; hybrid work possible upon agreement
– Possibility to apply for university accommodation through the Staff Welcome Centre (
– Deadline for applications: 15 February 2024
– Start date: 1 May 2024
– Apply here:
– Applications will be reviewed as they come; early applications are encouraged

Contact for inquiries: Dr. Gianvito Scaringi (

Invitation to publish in Open Geomechanics

Open Geomechanics is an online peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to the research topics in geomechanics. It is free to publish and free to read. The peer reviews are double blind – not only the reviewers are anonymous for the authors but also vice versa. Further more, the reviews are being published together with the (accepted) papers which guarantees a full transparency of the whole process and brings an informative insight into the discussion between the authors and the reviewers.

Initially, a number of papers for Open Geomechanics came from personal invitations to the potential authors. Nevertheless, the journal wants to be a platform for the whole geomechanics community around the world. We would like to invite you to submit your contributions. You will appreciate the free access to your research results commented by the experienced peers.

Editorial Board of Open Geomechanics

EPOS-NL: call open for Facility Access

Hi all,

A 2nd call is open from 9 June to 16 July to get free of charge access to top EPOS-NL research facilities in the Netherlands, notably:

  • The ESL High Pressure and Temperature Lab at Utrecht University
  • The ESL Tectonic modelling lab at Utrecht University
  • The CT scanners of the Multi-scale Imaging and Tomography (MINT) facility at Delft University of Technology
  • The Petrophysics Lab at Delft University of Technology

Capabilities include CT scanning, triaxial compression testing, ring shear (friction) testing and analogue modelling of tectonic processes.

Access can be remote (send in sample analysis) or physical (personal visit), depending on developments in corona restrictions, the requirements of the facility to be accessed and/or your wishes. Click here for more information.

If you want to stay up to date on EPOS-NL facility and data access, e-mail “subscribe” to

Best regards,

Ronald Pijnenburg

Ronald Pijnenburg, PhD – Project Manager EPOS-NL| Department of Earth Sciences | Utrecht University |

6th lecture of the AGERP series on “Mechanics of Unsaturated Soils”

The organising committee of AGERP is pleased to invite you to the 6th lecture of the series, which will be on ‘Mechanics of Unsaturated Soils’. It will be delivered by Professor  Em. Del Fredlund from Uni. of Saskatchewan, Canada and Dr. Murray Fredlund from Bentley Systems, Canada. This is scheduled on 29th August 2020. Registration (free and mandatory) for this lecture closes at 00:00, 28th August 2020 (AEST). For further information, please refer to the attached flier.

Dr. Partha Mishra and Professor Sarat DasConvenor, AGERP

Academia during the COVID-19 pandemic (survey results)

Dear Colleagues,

The coronavirus pandemic and associated isolation periods have affected all academic activities in every corner of the globe.

The attached essay reports the results of an early study that examines the implications of this period on education and research within the geotechnical and earth science academic communities in four distinct geographical locations. It also includes the results of complementary surveys conducted to explore faculty choices for online education and student preferences.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any comments and feedback.

With best wishes to you all,

Carlos Santamarina

Survey from Carlos Santamarina about the pandemic


These are unique times that we are living in! The short survey below
intends to gather data on our response to the pandemic, from our
position as researchers/academics.

Timing is important. *The survey will be open for ONE WEEK only*

Survey link:

(NOTE: all responses are completely anonymous).

Wishing all the best to you and your families!

Carlos Santamarina

CALL for Visiting Professor @ University of Salerno, 30 days or 90 days

Dear colleagues and friends of ALERT, I am pleased to announce that a call for visiting professor at the University of Salerno has been issued with deadline on 28 november. In the framework of this call Visiting Professors/Researchers will get a monthly grant of € 3.000,00 gross percipient.

Contact person for any help to participate to the call: Sabatino Cuomo, email:

Possible topics:- landslide modeling – unsaturated soil testing- geosynthetics for slope reinforcement- rapid landslides-structures interaction

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Two positions in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Applications are welcomed for two positions in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Professor/Associate Professor/Assistant Professor (Ref. 18070307), Hydraulic Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Assistant Professor (Ref. 19031107), Geotechnical Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University


More information in the attachment:

Tenth International Symposium on Land Subsidence (TISOLS), 20 – 24 April 2020, Delft – Gouda, The Netherlands

The Tenth International Symposium on Land Subsidence (TISOLS) will take place in Delft and Gouda, the Netherlands, from 20 to 24 April 2020.

TISOLS is organized under the auspices of the Unesco IHP Land Subsidence International Initiative. This working group has endeavored to improve and disseminate knowledge on land subsidence since the 1970s, through International Symposia on Land Subsidence, collaborative projects and publications.

TISOLS2020 intends to bring together 300+ international experts to share the latest research and insights on natural and anthropogenic land-level lowering.

The Call for Abstracts has just been published and is available at the symposium website.


    Abstract submission:                               March 31, 2019

    Letters of Acceptance sent:                    May 2019

    Full paper submission deadline:          September 1, 2019