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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD22-13: Adaptation of urban riveted steel structures - Development of an assessment and strengthening methodology


Job Information

Université Gustave Eiffel
Research Field
Engineering » Mechanical engineering
Engineering » Civil engineering
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

A significant part of the urban structures and infrastructures heritage is made up of riveted metal structures. However, the evolution of urban uses and needs may imply a replacement of these structures or their adaptation. However, when considering their adaptation or the reuse of certain metal parts, the design offices encounter difficulties during the assessment of their degree of damage, or during the reinforcement phases. These difficulties are exacerbated in the case of old structures that are of acute heritage interest.

Civil engineering structures and infrastructures are subjected to static and dynamic stresses (mechanical and thermal loads) responsible for their deterioration as well as to aggressive environments favoring the development of corrosion. These two phenomena, combined or not, can accelerate ageing and even lead to the destruction of the constituent elements. Structural elements under load are the most threatened by this damage. In the case of riveted structures, it is still difficult to assess the degree of damage to riveted connections. In this context, investigations on structural assessment tools are necessary in order to propose a relevant method for assessing the degree of damage, which could also allow monitoring of the structural health during the life of the structure or structural element.

Old structures were designed and built according to different codes and techniques than today. Their understanding is often incomplete. This leads, for precautionary reasons, to repair or reinforcement measures which can be invasive from a heritage point of view and heavy on the budget. An inventory of existing methods is necessary, as well as a proposal for a selection methodology. The latter must be based on experimental investigations to evaluate their effectiveness.

In this context, this thesis aims to propose and validate a methodology including an evaluation (inspection) and monitoring approach of riveted metallic structures, and a selection approach of the repair/strengthening method(s) of metallic structures assembled by riveting. The techniques for assessing the health of these structures to detect structural failure will be carried out at two scales, global and local. An analysis and an interpretation of the results will be made to propose in a second step a method of repair and/or reinforcement of these structures allowing to adapt them to new constraints, to reuse them, but also to make them more resilient towards climate change.

Nowadays, the metal trusses with rectilinear crossbeams from the second half of the 19th century constitute a family of structures that is still very much represented, with common assembly typologies. A good understanding of the functioning of the connections and supports is essential for the evaluation of their overall bearing capacity. In the absence of more detailed analysis, the stiffness of the connections is modelled in an idealized way: most of the connections are assumed to be hinged to favor normal forces in the structural elements, while the supports are assumed to be perfectly slippery so that the lower members of the trusses function well in tension. The strength check of the connections is neglected. This leads to an approximate, not necessarily conservative, assessment of the structural behavior and to the recommendation of perhaps unnecessary or inappropriate interventions.

In the first year, a bibliographical study will be carried out on the subject. Particular attention will be paid to the identification of the main pathologies and to the existing or possible non-destructive testing or inspection methods to assess their degree of damage. These methods will be implemented on a series of riveted lattice girders in order to assess their relevance, reliability and ease of implementation. The vibratory method will be investigated in particular in continuation of the work of H. Franz (Thesis in progress at SMC Laboratory). On the basis of these results, a first selection of methods will be made.

The second year will aim to damage all or part of the lattice girders studied in order to study the capacity of the selected methods to assess their degree of damage. For example, measurements will be carried out after some rivets have been loosened and replaced by bolts, or prestressed bolts with different tightening levels. This will enable the most appropriate inspection or structural assessment method to be defined and its implementation parameters to be reproduced on site. A survey of repair/reinforcement methods will also be carried out. Among these methods, recent solutions involving the use of structural bonding will be studied in particular in order to propose several repair/reinforcement methodologies.

The third year will be devoted to the on-site implementation of the defined structural assessment methodology, as well as to the performance of several experimental investigations aimed at validating the proposed reinforcement/repair solutions. In the end, an approach for the choice of the reinforcement/repair strategy will be determined.

The thesis will take place in the Laboratory of Metallic and Cable Structures of the Gustave Eiffel University in France. This laboratory has strong competences on the subject, with an experienced team of supervisors and experimental means adapted to the subject of the thesis (instrumentation, mechanical testing means, competences on repair/reinforcement techniques, knowledge on riveting). This project will allow the PhD student to acquire knowledge in the field of metallic structures and works essential to the energy transition, to contribute to the circular economy by proposing technical and technological solutions allowing to reduce the costs of maintenance and repairs of riveted structures. The candidate will develop these skills in numerical analysis and in conducting tests in the laboratory and on site.


Research Field
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Additional Information

  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.

One application per call per year is allowed.

Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).

Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.

Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.

There is no age limit.

Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website.

Additional comments
  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • International Mobility: Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer and the international Mobility
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email:
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université Gustave Eiffel
Postal Code
Allée des Ponts et Chaussées


5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code