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Sally O'Brien

Sally O'Brien

PhD Candidate (Probationary)

Supervisor: Professor Allan McRobie

James Dyson Building
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Sally studied Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, before moving to Cambridge in 2016 to complete an MPhil in Energy Technologies at the University of Cambridge.

Sally joined the FIBE CDT in 2017 and has recently completed her MRes year. Sally is now in the first year of her PhD completing research in the field of infrastructure system management with her supervisor, Dr Kristen MacAskill. 

Research Interests


Sally's research aims to explore potential developments in infrastructure system management through the lens of interdependency analysis. 

Energy, water, transport, digital communications, waste disposal networks and facilities, are essential ingredients for the success of a competitive modern economy. Individual assets add up to make a wider network of interdependent systems, each reliant on one another to ensure the entire network of systems can operate in an efficient manner. Designing, monitoring and managing these systems is a hugely complex challenge, but it is one of crucial importance for the long-term operation, security and resilience of these systems. 

Traditional approaches for infrastructure system management were centered around the age of an asset or a system (time-based), or the physical state of the asset or system (condition-based).  More recently, infrastructure systems are managed and maintained based on the risks attributed to the system. However, there is limited evidence to show that infrastructure interdependency analysis is a part of current management practice. Research suggests that the risk-based infrastructure system management approaches do not have the sophistication to consider infrastructure interdependency analysis. How can interdependency analysis be better incorporated into infrastructure system management practice? And, what impact could a development of this type have on future system management?