PhD in Ignition and fire spread processes in the Wildland Urban Interface

PhD in Ignition and fire spread processes in the Wildland Urban Interface

About the Project

This PhD project in fire science interlinks prevention and protection from wildfire risk, by focusing on providing a clearer understanding of uncontrolled fires and the conditions that cause them to arise in the wildland urban interface. These are a global phenomenon that are becoming more commonplace as changes in moisture and local temperature driven by climate change affect local fuel properties and ecosystems. As we construct more housing and industry in areas that were previously wildlands, the Wildland-Urban Interface becomes more critical as wildfires now affect infrastructure, urban systems and agricultural land. Different vegetation distributions can lead to very different fire spread mechanisms, as well as different effects on structures. In this PhD the research will aim at quantifying some of these mechanisms for different WUI scenarios. The project will likely require a combination of qualitative, quantitative and simulation methods.

You will be part of an active research programme in the Heat and Fire Lab ( ) in the Department of Engineering under the supervision of Dr Francesco Restuccia.  Our group is focused on carrying out experimental and computational multidisciplinary research in the thermal sciences covering heat transfer, combustion, fire science, and bioenergy. Our interests range from helping develop more efficient and durable energy storage to understanding the fundamentals of ignition and fire spread for prevention of damage to people, property, and the environment from unwanted fires in areas such as wildfire and electrification. Our current projects focus on wildfire dynamics, battery fires, thermal management of Lithium-Ion batteries, and ignition research.

The student will be funded by the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society ( established in 2019. The Centre comprises engineers, social, and natural scientists from Imperial College, King’s College London, Royal Holloway and University of Reading, working together to create a new, integrative science of wildfire. The student will therefore join a vibrant interdisciplinary research community with a common vision of producing evidence-based understanding of the human-fire nexus that can help inform policy and practice.


To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system. Details are available at:

Please apply for Engineering Research (MPhil/PhD) and indicate your desired supervisor [Dr Francesco Restuccia] and the project title in your application and all correspondence.

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

Applicants should submit:

i) The required qualification documents (They will either have, or be working towards, a masters degree or equivalent in a relevant field of Engineering).

ii) A cover letter outlining and demonstrating how their qualifications, experience, and interests make them suitable to pursue the research outlined above, including possible ideas for how they might focus the work on particular questions;

iii) A research statement as to how they would approach this proposed PhD project based on the project description

Interviews will take place on a rolling basis with an expected start date between October 2024 and February 2025. Please state your start date availability within your application.

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded at UKRI stipend rates paid for 4 years (for 2024/2025 this is £21,237 per annum, including London allowance). The studentship will also cover Home Fees (UKRI rate) for three years, and writing-up fees for the final year. There will be support funding for experiments and conference attendance.


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