skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Rob Foster

Dr Rob Foster

Lecturer in Civil Engineering

Cambridge University
Engineering Department
Trumpington Street


Rob has a BA in Philosophy from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and an MEng in Civil & Architectural Engineering from the University of Bath. He spent two years in practice as a structural engineer in London before coming to Cambridge to carry out a PhD in the Department of Engineering. Following his PhD, Rob spent time as a post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Architecture and as Senior Lecturer in Structures in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Research Interests

Rob's research addresses ways in which structural engineering can help us to meet the infrastructure needs of a rapidly growing urban population while maintaining the quality of the natural world around us. He is interested in the relationship between local and global behaviour in structural systems and the implications of this for design. His work explores ways in which better structural assessment, reconfiguration and retrofit can help us make better use of our enormous inventory of existing concrete structures;  the lightweighting and vertical extension of existing buildings; and the use of engineered timber for the design of sustainable tall buildings and urban infrastructure.

Other Professional Activities

Rob is co-Chair of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat working group on Tall Timber Buildings, and a Member of the Advisory Board of TRADA.

Key Publications

Foster, R.M. and Reynolds, T.P.S. (2018) "Lightweighting with timber: an opportunity for more sustainable urban densification", J. Archit. Eng., 24(1), 10.1061/(ASCE)AE.1943-5568.0000301

Penellum, M., Sharma, B., Shah, D.U., Foster, R.M. and Ramage, M.H. (2018) "Relationship of structure and stiffness in laminated bamboo composites", Con. Build. Mat., 165, 241-256,

Reynolds, T., Foster, R., Bregulla, J., Chang, W-S., Harris, R. and Ramage. M. (2017) "Lateral-load resistance of cross-laminated timber shear walls, J. Struct. Eng., 143(12),

Foster, R.M., Ramage, M.H. and Reynolds, T. (2017) "Rethinking CTBUH height criteria in the context of tall timber", CTBUH J., 2017(4), 28-33

Sanner, J., Snapp, T., Fernandez, A., Weihing, D., Foster, R. and Ramage, M. (2017) "River Beech Tower: A tall timber experiment", CTBUH J., 2017(2), 40-46

Foster, R.M., Haria, S., Morley, C.T. and Lees, J.M. (2017) "Shear capacity of reinforced concrete subjected to tension: experimental results and analysis", J. Struct. Eng., 143(9),

Ramage, M, Foster, R., Smith, S., Flanagan, K., and Bakker, R. (2017) "Super Tall Timber: design research for the next generation of natural structure", J. Arch., 22(1), [online]

Foster, R.M. and Ramage, M.H. (2017). "Briefing Super Tall Timber - Oakwood Tower", Proceedings of the ICE - Construction Materials, 170(3), 118-122, [online]

Foster, R.M., Brindley, M., Lees, J.M., Ibell, T.J., Morley C.T., Darby, A.P. and Evernden, M.C. (2017). “Experimental Investigation of Reinforced Concrete T-beams Strengthened in Shear with Externally Bonded CFRP Sheets”, J. Compos. Constr., 21(2), 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000743 [online]

Foster, R.M., Reynolds, T.P.S. and Ramage, M.H. (2016). “Proposal for defining a tall, timber building”, J. Struct. Eng., 142(12),

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), 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000623

Foster, R.M. and Ibell, T.J. (2016) “A numerical solution for the shape of fabric-formed concrete structures”, Structures, 8(1) [online]