School of Engineering


Matthew Holmes

Matthew is one of our STREAM alumni.

I studied Physical Geography at the University of Durham before going on to Newcastle University to gain an MSc in Hydrology and Climate Change.

I think having a diverse background and a broad outlook is very valuable and this is what attracted me to study an EngD. It offers an opportunity to combine the skills gained from undertaking original academic research with the broader experience gained from working in industry.

Alongside the technical and transferable skills from the taught elements of the course it will give me a very strong foundation for my career.

An EngD research engineer is well placed to study essential problems which need longer timescales than are customarily available in industry.

My project is focused on the reliability of water networks, both clean water and sewerage. Increasing attention is being paid to the vulnerability of the critical infrastructure networks, such as water, electricity and transport, which support our daily lives. A particular concern is the extent to which networks rely on each other and, therefore, the potential for failures in one to cascade to another causing widespread disruption.

Water companies need to know the extent to which they are vulnerable to such cascading events in order to effectively mitigate the risk. The aim of the project is to provide a generic method by which to assess the risk and apply it to specific case studies to assess its effectiveness, give an indication of the size of the risk and test different ways of reducing the vulnerability.

Studying for an EngD is an excellent opportunity to work in an exciting and topical field. From a career perspective, an EngD enables you to build a professional network and a more nuanced understanding of the industry. On a personal level it's great to have the freedom to tailor your research to specific needs and see its impact.