MSc by Research: Monitoring Roofs of Traditional Buildings using Remote Sensing

Maintaining buildings and infrastructure is critical for sustainability of our built environment, the economy and the societal resilience of the region they service. English Heritage assert every £1 of invested in heritage-led regeneration has generated £1.60 in additional economic activity reflecting the underrepresented financial benefit of such interventions.

Climate change projections for the UK suggest that the built environment in general and the historic/traditional built environment in particular, is being placed under increasingly significant strain, which raises fundamental challenges to the monitoring and maintenance of those structures. Such is the importance of anthroprogenic climate change that in 2019, Scotland declared a climate emergency and, as a result, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has published a Climate Action Plan that includes seven areas of action. The first area is “Climate Impacts and Adaptation” and it is defined by a commitment by HES to “continue to research and monitor the effects of climate change on the historic environment. The more we know, the better we can help it to adapt”. This proposed MScR scholarship and project are set within this area of action. Within the context of ‘climate impacts and adaptation’ it is increasingly understood that external building fabric (roofs, walls etc) are particularly adversely affected by climate change and extreme weather events (storm, flood etc).

This MScR scholarship is specifically directed to conduct a project that uses new data capture methods (e.g. drone surveying using multi-spectral 2D imagery and Structure-from-Motion (3D) photogrammetry) and aims to develop some new machine-learning data analysis methods to enhance the surveying of the roofs of traditional and historic buildings (e.g. slated roofs, chimneys, roof masonry, etc.). The work shall first focus on the semantic and 3D modelling of the roofs and, subsequently, the analysis of some aspect(s) of their deterioration, both structural and non-structural.

This project will build on-going collaborative works between the CyberBuild Lab at the University of Edinburgh (led by Dr Frédéric Bosché), Dr Alan Forster at Heriot-Watt University, and the Technical Research, Science & Digital department of Historic Environment Scotland (HES). This team has previously investigated the automated detailed modelling of masonry constructions and detection of defects in masonry structures (see Data of relevant traditional buildings will be provided by HES for one or more of the properties either under their care or from organisations with whom they collaborate closely.

This position is being sponsored by a HCI Skills Gateway scholarship. HCI Skills Gateway scholarships are supported by the Edinburgh & SE Scotland City Region Deal and funded by the Scottish Government.   The scholarships form part of the inclusive growth objectives and outcomes for the integrated regional employability and skills (IRES) program. This scholarship is available to people domiciled or working in the South-East of Scotland, more specifically the councils areas of East Lothian, Mid Lothian, West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Fife and Scottish Borders, and that qualify to pay Home fees, but the scholarship is open to all nationals. Overseas nationals (including EU) would need to secure fudning for the overseas component of fees.  Applications are particularly welcome from applicants of groups underrepresented in the construction industry (public and private sector), especially those identifying as women, BAME, with a disability, veteran of the armed forces, and/or with caring responsibilities.

To Apply please visit here

Closing Date: 31st December 2021 (or until position is filled)

Further Information: 

CyberBuild Lab

Centre for Future Infrastructure (

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Friday, December 31, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline.

The ideal student will have good quantitative skills and some understanding of reality capture technologies (e.g. Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry and/or multi-spectral imaging) and their applicability in engineering/construction. Finally, the student will also have demonstrable knowledge of one or more of programming languages, e.g. C++, Python, C#.

This scholarship is only available to applicants living or working in the South-East of Scotland, more specifically the councils areas of East Lothian, Mid Lothian, West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Fife and Scottish Borders.


All applicants must be living or working in the South-East of Scotland, more specifically the councils areas of East Lothian, Mid Lothian, West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Fife and Scottish Borders.

MSc by Research fees (only) are available for Home applicants.  EU or Overseas applicants are welcome to apply but the difference between the Home fee rate and the EU/Overseas fee rate must be secured/provided by the applicant. 

Living costs must be be secured/provided by all applicants.

Please provide details of funding source(s) in your application.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: