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Structures Research Group

Engineering Department

Studying at Cambridge


Rob Foster

Rob Foster
Cambridge University
Engineering Department
Trumpington Street

Office Phone: +44 1223 332758


Rob graduated with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Philosophy from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 2005 followed by a first class MEng (Hons) degree in Civil & Architectural Engineering from the University of Bath in 2010. He subsequently spent two years in practice as a Structural Engineer designing concrete and steel building structures, mostly in London.

Rob joined the Concrete & Composite Structures Group in 2012 in order to undertake PhD research into the behaviour of reinforced concrete strengthened with externally bonded Fibre Reinforced Polymer fabrics. His research was funded by the Engineering Physical Sciences & Research Council and was carried out in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Bath. Rob's PhD supervisor was Dr Janet Lees and his advisor was Dr Chris Morley.

Rob is now a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Natural Materials and Structures group in the Department of Architecture, working in collaboration with the Centre for Natural Material Innovation.

Research Interests

Rob's primary research interest is the relationship between local and global behaviour in structural systems, with a particular emphasis on the implications for design with heterogeneous materials. Rob's PhD research investigated the behaviour of reinforced concrete strengthened with externally bonded Fibre Reinforced Polymer fabrics.  Whilst his current research focuses on the potential of timber and other engineered plant based products as structural materials for the design of tall buildings, Rob retains a strong research interest in the sometimes puzzling behaviour of reinforced concrete subject to shear, the use of composites in construction and the strengthening of existing structures.

Rob is also interested in the role of engineering research and design in a broader architectural, social and environmental context.

Research Supervision

During his PhD research, Rob has supported a number of MEng research projects investigating various aspects of shear in concrete. More recently, he was Supervisor for two MEng research projects: one investigating methods for enhancing the capacity of wall-floor-wall connections in cross laminated timber platform construction, and the other investigating the potential of tuned mass damping for controlling the dynamic behaviour of long-span timber floor plates.


Rob continues to supervise:

Part 1B Structures for the Department of Engineering

Part 1A and 1B Structural Design for the Department of Architecture

Other Professional Activities

Rob was a student member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Concrete Institute and the Network Group for Composites in Construction.

Key Publications

Foster, R., Morley, C., and Lees, J. (2016). "Modified Push-Off Testing of an Inclined Shear Plane in Reinforced Concrete Strengthened with CFRP Fabric." J. Compos. Constr. 20(3), 04015061, 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000623

Foster, R.M., Reynolds, T.P.S. and Ramage, M.H. (2016). “Proposal for defining a tall, timber building”, J. Struct. Eng., 10.1061/(ASCE)ST.1943-541X.0001615 [postprint]

Foster, R.M., Brindley, M., Lees, J.M., Ibell, T.J., Morley C.T., Darby, A.P. and Evernden, M.C. (2016). “Experimental Investigation of Reinforced Concrete T-beams Strengthened in Shear with Externally Bonded CFRP Sheets”, J. Compos. Constr., 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000743 [postprint]

Foster, R.M. and Ramage, M.H. (2016). "Briefing: Super Tall Timber - Oakwood Tower", Proceedings of the ICE - Construction Materials, [online]

Foster, R.M. and Ibell, T.J. (2016) “A numerical solution for the shape of fabric-formed concrete structures”, Structures, [online]

Other Publications

Foster, R.M., Lees J.M. and Morley, C.T. (2015) "An Experimental Investigation into the Effect of Externally Bonded CFRP Fabrics on the Shear Behaviour of Reinforced Concrete T-beams" Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Conference on Advanced Composites In Construction, Cambridge, Sept 9-11 2015.

Foster, R.M., Lees, J.M., Morley, C.T. (2014) 'Relating Shear Transfer Experiments to FRP Strengthened Beam Behaviour in Shear', Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on FRP Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE), August 20-22.

Foster, R.M., Morley, C.T. and Lees, J.M. (2013) "Shear Transfer Across a Diagonal Crack in Reinforced Concrete Strengthened with Externally Bonded FRP Fabric"Advanced Composites in Construction (ACIC) 2013 Conference Proceedings, September 10-12, pp. 181-192.