skip to content

National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing

Interdisciplinary Centre for infrastructure sensors and instrumentation

Our NRFIS Team engage with industry and the academic research community to foster collaborations and offer direct access to the leading edge facilities and academic research groups within the Civil Engineering Building.


Leadership and Governance

Professor Giulia Viggiani

Giulia Viggiani is a Professor of Infrastructure Geotechnics, in the Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group of the Department of Engineering. Professor Viggiani joined the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University in 2017. Before this, she was Full Professor of Geotechnics at the Università di Roma “Tor Vergata” where she was Head of the Board of Studies in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She has been MTS Visiting Professor of Geomechanics at the University of Minnesota, and Academic Visitor at Imperial College (JLE-Link Project), and at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig. She is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College.


NRFIS Academic Lead and UKCRIC Management Board representative for Cambridge



Professor Simon Guest

Simon Guest is a Professor of Structural Mechanics, in the Structures Group of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. His teaching is in structural mechanics, and his research straddles the border between traditional structural mechanics, and the study of mechanisms. He is also a fellow of Trinity Hall.


Head of Civil Engineering and PI on the EPSRC UKCRIC grant





NRFIS Management Team

Our team are a direct point of contact to the research facilities available at NRFIS. Please contact them if you are interested in collaborating on infrastructure research or would like to use our facilities.


Dr Pieter Desnerck

NRFIS Senior Technical Manager

Dr Pieter Desnerck is the Senior Technical Manager of the Civil Engineering division of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge and of the UKCRIC National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing. Pieter obtained his PhD at Ghent University (Belgium) performing research on Self-Compacting Concrete and the Assessment of Existing Concrete Structures. He worked as (Post)-Doctoral Researcher at the Universite de Sherbrooke (Canada), Missouri University of Science and Technology (USA) and University of Cambridge (UK). From 2017 to 2018, he was a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Brunel University London (UK). In 2018, he rejoined the University of Cambridge to strengthen the NRFIS management team.

Dr Desnerck's expertise is in concrete structures, academic lab management, experimental design, measurement techniques and research methodologies. 




Executive Board

Dr Ioannis Brilakis

Dr Ioannis Brilakis is a Laing O'Rourke Reader in Construction Engineering and the Director of the Construction Information Technology Laboratory at the Division of Civil Engineering of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Brilakis' research interests lie broadly in the field of construction engineering with a focus on construction automation and information technologies. This includes generating and updating building and infrastructure digital twins; sensing and data collection for civil infrastructure development; infrastructure computer vision and pattern recognition technologies for construction site multimedia data analysis, classification, retrieval, and processing; knowledge extraction and management; intelligent automation of design and construction tasks.

NRFIS Executive Board member for Construction Engineering and IT


Dr Cedric Kechavarzi

Dr Cedric Kechavarzi is the Training & Knowledge Transfer Manager for the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) in the Department of Engineering.

Cedric started his role in CSIC in January 2013. Prior to this, Cedric was a Lecturer in Environmental Soil Physics and Course Director of the MSc in Environmental Engineering at Cranfield University.

His main focus is the design and delivery of customised training programmes for industry as well as the development and publication of technical guidance documents in order to foster knowledge transfer. His current research interests are in the standardisation and development of robust distributed fibre optic strain sensing systems.

NRFIS Executive Board member for Smart Infrastructure and Sensors



Dr John Orr

Dr John Orr is an EPSRC Early Career Fellow and University Lecturer in Concrete Structures in the Department of Engineering. His teaching and research are related to sustainable construction, with emphasis placed on concrete, and structural optimisation.

John has a strong research interest in all aspects of flexible formwork, including its potential to significantly reduce concrete consumption through optimised design processes, and its inherent architectural appeal. His work takes a holistic approach to the unique optimisation, design and construction requirements of these innovative concrete structures.

NRFIS Executive Board member for Structures



Professor Ashwin Seshia

Ashwin Seshia is a Professor of Microsystems Technology in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge. 

His research interests include microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) design, particularly in relation to sensors and sensor systems. Foundational research and translational contributions include to the field of resonant and mode-localized sensing, and towards the development of frequency modulated gyroscopes, micromachined vibrating beam gravimeters, and vibration energy harvesting. Ashwin is a co-founder of two companies, 8power and Silicon Microgravity, that were formed to translate research in energy harvesting enabled sensor systems for condition and structural health monitoring, and MEMS-based gravity and inertial sensing, respectively. 

NRFIS Executive Board member, Sensor and Sensing systems


Dr Sam Stanier

Dr Sam Stanier is a is a University Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in the Department of Engineering.

Dr Sam Stanier’s research interests revolve around the “whole-life” modelling of soil and geostructure response, acknowledging that soil changes state and thus strength and stiffness due to loading, which can have significant effects on the performance of infrastructure throughout their design life. This work is developing new constitutive models for soft soils with non-local regularisation, methods to calibrate constitutive parameters using digital imaging techniques and simple design methods that account for the evolution of soil properties with time for industrial application.

NRFIS Executive Board member, Geomechanics



Technician Team

All research undertaken at the UKCRIC NRFIS is supported by our team of highly skilled and experienced technicians.


Chris Burling

NRFIS Laboratory Manager



Martin Touhey

Chief Technician






David Layfield

Senior Technician