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Job ID: 141866

PhD Scholarship in Smart Cities
University of Central Florida

Date Posted May 12, 2020
Title PhD Scholarship in Smart Cities
University University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL, United States
Department Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
Application Deadline Jan. 1, 2021
Position Start Date Available Immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Transportation Engineering
    Structural Engineering
    Mechanical Engineering
    Computer Science
    Civil Engineering

Dr. Patrick Sun’s research group in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF at Orlando, is looking for motivated Ph.D. students starting in Spring/Fall 2021. Multiple Research Assistantships with full financial support are available immediately. We encourage applications from highly self-motivated students with a solid background in infrastructure and human sensing (e.g. sensor development, image/signal processing), sensing system development (e.g. computer vision with coding experience in python, C++, or matlab), data science (e.g. machine/deep learning, data analytics, and simulation), or a related experimental or analytical field, and a strong interest in applying these tools to tackle research problems in smart infrastructures and smart cities. We will aim at publishing our research on well-known structural sensing journals (e.g. Structural Control and Health Monitoring, Smart Materials and Structures, ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering), top computer vision and computing conferences (e.g. IEEE CVPR, WACV, and BMVC, ACM CSCW).

Successful candidates will conduct thesis research in one or more of the following areas:

  • Quantifying human activity using deep learning-based computer vision technologies
  • Sensing and analyzing social dynamics in both public open spaces and in-door built environment
  • Characterization and development of strain sensors for civil infrastructures using nanomaterials
  • Designing MEMS-based thin-film sensors to measure structural response, human health and activity-related responses

To express your interest in joining the group, please email your complete CV and a short cover letter to Dr. Patrick Sun (, website: Positions for research interns and visiting scholars/students are also available.

About PI:
Dr. Sun is an Assistant Professor in Smart Cities at the University of Central Florida starting Fall 2020. Before joining UCF, he served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. His current research is on people-centered smart city studies and computer vision aided context-aware system for urban planning. Dr. Sun obtained his Ph.D. degree (2017) in civil/structural engineering from Rice University, where he developed a novel coating, Smart Skin, for wireless strain sensing and damage identification on structures (e.g. buildings and infrastructures). He received an M.S. degree (2012) in Structural/Earthquake Engineering and a B.S. degree (2009) in Civil Engineering from Southeast University. His expertise is in people-centered smart cities, the development of smart sensors, and the applications in structural health monitoring. He is particularly interested in combining knowledge in civil engineering and other disciplines (e.g. nanotechnology, computer vision, electrical engineering, and material science) to convert traditional structures into more intelligent systems with a "perception" of structures and the surrounding environment. He has received the Bruce Deal and Andy Grove Young Author Award (2017) from the Electrochemical Society (ECS), SCI Transdisciplinary Symposium Award (2016) from Rice University, Student Travel Award (2016) from American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), and Best Award in CEVE/MECH/MSNE of Rice Research Screech Competition (2015) from Rice University.

About UCF:
Located in the Orlando Metropolitan area, UCF is one of the biggest Research I universities and enrolls over 67,000 students, offering excellent professional and personal opportunities. The interdisciplinary research environment, access to rapid metropolitan economic and population growth, and nexus of world-class simulation, space technology and tourism industries co-located in the Central Florida metro region provide unique opportunities to the potential Ph.D. candidates.

  • UCF’s Office of Institutional Equity is responsible for ensuring the University’s compliance with various Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) rules, regulations, and reporting, monitoring the University’s search and hire process for compliance with AA/EEO regulations, and search committee education and training. As part of our compliance with state and federal AA/EEO regulations, we annually prepare an Affirmative Action Plan on behalf of the University, which is compiled using various workforce, payroll, and search committee data. Additionally, the OIE in partnership with Human Resources and Academic Affairs monitors the recruitment, search, and hire process for compliance with state and federal AA/EEO regulations and University policies. In addition to the Affirmative Action Plan, the OIE prepares the Florida Equity Report each year on behalf of the University in compliance with the Florida Educational Equity Act (F.S. Sec. 1000.5) and the Florida Board of Governors Regulation 2.003.

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • Dr. P. Sun
    Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering
    University of Central Florida
    12800 Pegasus Drive
    Orlando, FL 32816


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