Applications for the BRE Chair in Fire Safety Engineering at Edinburgh


BRE Research Chair in Fire Safety Engineering

Vacancy Ref: :


Closing Date :


Contact Person :

Professor Luke Bisby

Contact Number :

0131 650 5710

Contact Email :

[email protected]

The establishment of the BRE Centre of Excellence in Fire Safety Engineering has been extremely successful, both in terms of research and educational outcomes. It brings together the UK’s two most prestigious fire research and educational institutions, both of which have acclaimed international status in this field. The formation of this Centre has represented an innovation for the UK which has since been emulated with the creation of four additional BRE Centres of Excellence in research areas associated with the built environment in other UK universities. BRE Global Ltd and BRE Ltd are owned by the BRE Trust. 

To continue its policy of investment in excellent people, the School of Engineering seeks to appoint the BRE Research Chair in Fire Safety Engineering. You will have an internationally evident research track record in fire safety engineering with an emphasis on combustion and/or fire dynamics relevant to fire safety in the built environment. You will contribute to teaching in the School of Engineering, particularly in areas relevant to Fire Safety Engineering.


The BRE Trust ( which supports the BRE Chair in Fire Safety Engineering, is a research and education charity for the public benefit, registered by the Charity Commission (registered charity number 1092193). It was created to ensure that BRE remains independent of specific commercial interests, and retains its reputation for objectivity and impartiality in research and consultancy. All of the companies owned by the BRE Trust contribute their profits to supporting the Trust’s mission to promote and support excellence and innovation in the built environment for the benefit of all.

The BRE Trust achieves this by funding and managing a strategic research programme in the built environment sector. Fire protection research, consultancy, testing and certification activities are undertaken by BRE Global Ltd which incorporates the Fire Research Station (FRS) and the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and has been a world leader in fire safety research since its establishment in 1947 and recognised as the UK’s national fire research and fire safety centre. It continues to be involved with major fire incident investigations which have included Flixborough, Ronan Point, Summerland, Piper Alpha, Kings Cross, the Channel Tunnel fires and more recently the Rose Park Care Home and Atherstone on Stour.


The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition in Fire Safety Engineering research and education and is recognised internationally for its work over the last forty years. This has been characterised by innovative research and the education of several of the current leaders in the field. The programme was considerably increased in both size and breadth during the past decade by the development of new state-of-the-art experimental facilities (Fire Labs I & II); the refurbishment of space for Fire & Structures research; and the addition of four new academic staff members in support of the Structures and Fire degree courses. The Fire Safety Engineering Group at the School of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh ( is involved in a wide range of research subjects and is also deeply involved in setting the direction for the practice of Fire Safety Engineering globally. Their objective is to develop a co-ordinated approach to performance-based Fire Safety Engineering Design. This work may be subdivided in several focus areas, including:

• Fire dynamics (ignition and fire growth) 
• Fire behaviour of materials 
• Fire modelling and integrated numerical simulation
• Fire Safety Engineering methodology
• Structural Fire Engineering


At present the School of Engineering offers a number of courses directly related to Fire Safety Engineering. These include:

• The BEng/MEng in Structural Engineering with Fire Safety;
• The MSc in Structural and Fire Engineering (SAFE); and
• The Erasmus Mundus joint International MSc in Fire Safety Engineering (joint with Lund and Ghent).

The BRE Centre currently organises two Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short courses through The University’s Office for Lifelong Learning (; one on ‘Fire Science and Fire Investigation’, and another on ‘Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design’. The successful candidate would be expected to participate and take the initiative in new CPD ventures.


You will be expected to contribute to research in the Institute for Infrastructure and the Environment and teaching and administration in the School of Engineering. You will be expected to:

• identify and propagate visions for new research
• generate substantial external research funding and deliver significant output
• lead and expand a group of academics, research staff and PhD students 
• publish in quality peer-reviewed research journals
• contribute to teaching to masters level, in the School of Engineering, particularly in areas relevant to Fire Safety Engineering. 
• undertake appropriate administrative duties
• contribute to the intellectual wealth and collegiate environment of the School.

Responsibilities: Research and Leadership

You will initiate, perform and deliver fundamental and applied research that complements and integrates with other appropriate research areas in the School. 

You will be expected to: 

1. Initiate, plan, lead, perform and deliver research into fire safety engineering. The University of Edinburgh aims to retain and expand its international position in this research domain.
2. Demonstrate and deliver internationally-evident quality research, leadership and publishing activity.
3. Generate UK, European and international funding to support this research and establish it in the world arena. 
4. Lead and expand a vibrant and interactive group of academics, research staff and PhD students within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment. 
5. Develop graduating fire safety engineering professionals and early career researchers, by means of BEng, MEng, MSc teaching and doctoral training.
6. Create, lead and participate in collaborative research projects.
7. Include in the above collaborative research projects relevant industrial partners.
8. Participate in Knowledge Exchange using standard University policies and procedures.

Responsibilities: Teaching 

The School’s degrees in Civil Engineering are accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators (The Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and the Institute of Highway Engineers). In addition to the degrees associated with fire safety engineering, the School also offers the following:

• Civil Engineering (H804/H800)
• Structural and Fire Safety Engineering (H225/H224)
• Structural Engineering with Architecture (H225/H224)

You will be expected to provide vision and leadership in the ongoing development and delivery of courses on degrees with particular emphasis on Fire Safety Engineering.

You would be expected to participate and take the initiative in new CPD ventures such as those currently organised by the BRE Centre through The University’s Office for Lifelong Learning ( ‘Fire Science and Fire Investigation’; ‘Fire Dynamics and Fire Safety Engineering Design’. 

Further details are available on the undergraduate degree programmes are available from the School website and the University websites. The School runs a growing range of successful MSc programmes on which the candidate will be expected to contribute teaching and project supervision.

Responsibilities: Administration 

You will become the Director of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering and will also be expected to undertake and deliver senior administrative duties within the Institute and School or in the wider University environment, where appropriate.


You will be expected to meet the following essential requirements:

• The vision to generate and deliver an internationally recognised research agenda in Fire Safety Engineering. 
• An internationally-evident reputation for performing quality research in areas relevant to fire safety Engineering and its implementation, including a record of obtaining funding for research (particular attention will be paid to applicants with expertise in fire dynamics, and/or combustion). 
• A significant number of high quality peer-reviewed journal publications.
• Demonstrable success in winning research funding, team building and delivery of research outcomes, including collaborative research with industry.
• Demonstrated excellent academic and research leadership.
• Excellence and commitment as a motivated and proficient educator in Higher Education.
• The ability to teach required subjects with highest proficiency across the range of teaching provision. 
• Excellent communication, presentation and organisational skills and high proficiency in written and oral English language.

Desirable Requirements

• Significant experience of working with industry on both research and consultancy projects and managing/maintaining growing industrial partnerships.


Fire Safety Engineering research is conducted within the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment:

The Institute is shaping the development of better technologies to improve the built and natural environments. In addition to the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, the Institute conducts similarly excellent activities in the following areas: 

• Fire Safety Engineering (including fire initiation and propagation, fire growth, compartment fire dynamics, fire chemistry and material flammability and the structural response of materials and buildings to fire conditions); 
• Structural Engineering (including theoretical, computational and experimental research covering shell structures; granular solids mechanics and handling, structural mechanics in medicine, and FRPs in structural engineering); 
• Non-Destructive Testing (including NDT of concrete and masonry bridges, NDT of railway trackbed, forward numerical modelling of NDT); 
• Construction Management (including construction process simulation and management); and 
• Environmental Engineering (including membrane technologies, water and wastewater treatment, and water treatment for developing countries).

The Institute is located in the Alexander Graham Bell building (opened in 2004) and the William Rankine building (opened in 2006) and currently has eighteen FTE academic staff, including six Professors, two Readers, six Senior Lecturers and four Lecturers. 

Laboratory Facilities

There are nine main teaching and research laboratories in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Those directly relevant to the current post include:

• Fire Lab I – The Rushbrook Fire Safety Laboratory (including cone calorimeter, 0.5MW furniture hood, and Flame Propagation Apparatus);
• Fire Lab II – The Fire and Materials Laboratory (including high temperature mechanical and thermal characterisation equipment);
• The Structures Large Test Hall (recently underwent a £500K refurbishment and now allows for medium-scale structural fire tests using radiant panel arrays); and
• The Light Structures and Materials “Clean” Laboratory. 

Access to other equipment for e.g. mass spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis, etc, are available within the School of Engineering.

Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering and Mathematics

The School of Engineering is a founder member of the Edinburgh Research Partnership in engineering and mathematics (ERPem), a consortium involving the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University, set up in 2006 with SFC/OST investment. The ERPem is organised into six Joint Research Institutes (JRIs) dedicated to world-class research, innovation and education in engineering and mathematical science. The long-term vision of ERPem is to be the prime vehicle for world-leading research in Engineering and Mathematical Sciences carried out at the participating institutions, and one which is recognised worldwide as a centre of excellence in these disciplines.

The Joint Research Institutes are in the areas of: 

• Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Signal and Image Processing
• Mathematical Sciences
• Subsurface Science and Engineering
• Energy
• Integrated Systems (Precision Optical, Electronic and Miniature Systems)

Each of the six JRIs combines the relevant academic staff, postdoctoral research fellows and their graduate students from the partner Universities into a single joint research institute, significantly enhancing research capacity and scale.


This role is grade UE10 Professorial (range £54,826 to 91,978). Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month.

The positions are open to candidates of all nationalities. Those who would enhance the diversity of the School in terms of nationality and/or gender are particularly encouraged to apply. 

If relocation within the UK is required, the University will reimburse the successful candidate for vouched expenditure, within an overall upper limit of £3,000. If relocation from overseas is required, a contribution will be made towards vouched expenditure. 

The University recognises that it may be advantageous that the successful candidate should be able to accept, within reasonable limits, consultancies or other paid employment outwith their University appointment. Permission to undertake such activities will not be withheld unnecessarily but it is a condition of the appointment that such employment may be undertaken only with the express approval of the Head of School.

The taking up of references (which will occur without notice unless otherwise requested) is selective and does not imply a decision that the application will be placed on the final short-list for interviews.

Applicants will be informed as to whether they have been shortlisted or not, but we may not be in a position to give detailed feedback to those not shortlisted.


Eligibility to work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work visit

This post meets UK Border Agency criteria for sponsorship by the University of Edinburgh. Even if you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, it may be possible for the University of Edinburgh to sponsor you to obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa to enable you to take up the appointment should you be successful at interview.

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is located at

However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to UK Border Agency rules you can cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your leave has expired or lapsed.


Applicants may be made online at The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a c.v. In your application please include a covering letter which highlights, with evidence, how you meet all of the essential criteria and any of the desirable criteria you meet. Candidates will be short-listed and interviewed based on how they meet these criteria.


Informal enquiries are welcome: please contact Professor Asif Usmani (+44 (0)131 6505789 or [email protected]) or Prof. Luke Bisby (+44 (0)131 6505710 or [email protected]).

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.


The School of Engineering

The integrated School of Engineering was formed in 2002 from the various individual departments to address diverse and complex challenges across the entire field of engineering, at the micro- and macroscopic/global scales. At the microscopic scale, its research supports the design and deployment of novel nanotechnology and devices for biological monitoring and medical diagnosis; at the macro/global scale, it optimises the security and sustainability of the built environment and develops engineering solutions to issues raised by climate change. The Vision of the School is the achievement of excellence across each of its five research areas, from the science and mathematics that underpin engineering research, to its industrial and commercial applications and four teaching disciplines, all accredited by the professional Engineering Institutes. Not only was the School ranked third (Research Fortnight Power Analysis) in General Engineering in the UK Research Assessment Exercise (2008), but it also has a strong track record in producing more than 50 technology spin-outs and developing industry links that enable our graduates to build relationships that last a whole career. In 2011/2012 the School was successful in achieving £28m research awards/income.
The School is one of the largest in the University, comprising over 150 staff and over 350 postgraduate, 140 MSc and 1,400 undergraduate students. The School occupies approximately 10,000 m2 in over ten buildings on the University’s King’s Buildings site in South Edinburgh.
Each member of academic staff teaches in one of four engineering disciplines and is a member of a Research Institute:
Research Institutes
• Digital Communications 
• Energy Systems 
• Infrastructure and Environment
• Integrated Micro and Nano Systems 
• Materials and Processes 
Teaching disciplines
• Chemical Engineering
• Civil & Environmental Engineering
• Electrical Engineering & Electronics
• Mechanical Engineering
The School currently offers 43 degree programme titles including combined degrees with Computer Science, Management and Architecture. The School offers the four year BEng and five year MEng degree programmes, all accredited by the professional institutions, and 10 taught MSc degrees.
Facilities and Centres
UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre is a virtual hub that brings together UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) researchers and acts as a two-way interface between the academic community and key stakeholders (e.g. government, industry and potential international collaborators). 
The Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy will train 50 engineering doctorate students over nine years in all aspects of Offshore Renewable Energy. 
The UK All-Waters Combined Current and Wave Test Facility for wave and tidal devices will be operational by 2013 and will enhance the University’s leadership in low-carbon energy research.
The BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering hosts bespoke equipment to support research and consultancy with precisely controlled high temperatures and the latest image analysis techniques. 
The recently refurbished Structures Test Hall is our high-headroom lab for testing large and unusual assemblies. There are state-of-the-art lab facilities for developing and testing NDE and material handling technologies, a smart infrastructure lab and a good range of environmental engineering testing resources for the water and waste management sectors. 
The School of Engineering is a partner in SynthSys, the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology which is an interdisciplinary research environment with members across many Research Institutes, Colleges and Schools, including The University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and BioSS. It aims to pioneer genetic and chemical tools to manipulate the cell, technologies to quantify responses at the single-cell level, and mathematical models to predict and control cellular behaviour.


College of Science and Engineering (

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University’s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King’s Buildings. The College has over 2,700 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, 800 taught postgraduates and 1,500 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income (£130M in 2001/12), and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 
In the 2008 RAE over 600 research active staff were returned. 96% of the College submission was of international quality in its originality, significance and rigour with 66% of the submission being rated internationally excellent.


The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible.

We still do. The latest Research Assessment Exercise highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. 

As a member of staff you will be part of one of the world’s leading universities, with 22 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 500 undergraduate and 160 postgraduate courses to over 30,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 11,700 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles. 

As a world-changing, world-leading university we are an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation.

The 9th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology

The 9th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology (AOSFST) was held in Hefei, China from October 17 to 20. This symposium is a premier fire safety science meeting in the Asia-Oceania region and has been organized since 1992.  This was the first time it was held on the China Mainland during the past 20 years.

The 9th AOSFST aimed to present and discuss the latest research results and related technology trends in Fire Science and Technology. The attendees of the symposium showed their latest research by presentations of papers in their field. The symposium also invited 14 lectures from the world’s top fire science researchers. The plenary speech was given by Dr. John L. de Ris from FM Global, USA. In addition to the technical sessions, several social activities provided opportunities for participants to meet with other colleagues and friends from around the world. The four-day symposium was a great platform to share new ideas and recent research findings in fire science and technology.

Fig 1: Opening Ceremony of the 9th AOSFST / SKLFS

Fig 2: Plenary speech by John L. de Ris from FM Global, USA/ SKLFS

During this symposium a Lifetime Contribution Award was instituted by the Asia-Oceania Association for Fire Science and Technology (AOAFST), to recognize the persons who have made outstanding contributions to the development of Fire Science and Technology. Prof. Toshisuke Hirano, first chairman of AOAFST during 1992-1995, and Prof. Weicheng Fan, chairman of AOAFST during 1995-2000, were awarded the first lifetime contribution awards of the AOAFST during this symposium.

Participants from both China and abroad were impressed by the fabulous organization of the conference. “This is probably one the best conferences that I have attended,” said Prof. Bogdan Dlugogorski, chairman of the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS). Many experts expressed their willingness to cooperate or expand their collaboration with the State Key Laboratory of Fire Science (SKLFS).

  Fig 3: Lifetime Contribution Award of AOAFST given to Prof. Weicheng Fan / SKLFS

Organized by AOAFST and hosted by SKLFS at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), this symposium gathered over 200 scholars and postgraduates from about 20 countries and regions. The authors of the nearly 130 papers accepted for publication in the symposium proceedings covered nearly 28 countries and regions. Topics of the Symposium included fire physics and chemistry; fire and smoke modeling; human-fire interactions; fire statistics and risk assessment; fire safety design and code; structure response to fire; fire properties and testing methods of materials; suppression, detection, and smoke management; urban, WUI, and forest fires. Some special topics including fire investigation, fire reconstruction, fire service needs, transportation fires, and industrial fires were also covered.

The Symposium, held every 2-3 years, is a premier fire safety science meeting in the Asia-Oceania region and has been organized since 1992. The two most recent symposiums were successfully held in Hong Kong and Australia in 2007 and 2010, respectively. The conference was organized by the Asia-Oceania Association for Fire Science and Technology (AOAFST) which is under the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS).

 You can view recorded videos of  invited talks from the 9th AOSFST at Please note these are best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer.