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Dr Rob Foster

Dr Rob Foster

Research Associate in the Centre for Natural Materials Innovation,

Natural Materials and Structures Group,

Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge


Rob is a structural engineer and he is currently working on the Super Tall Timber project in collaboration with the cross-disciplinary Centre for Natural Materials Innovation. HIs research is funded by an EPSRC Bright IDEAS Award.

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. His research is currently focused on the potential of timber and other engineered plant based products as structural materials for the design of tall buildings. Further research interests include the sometimes puzzling behaviour of reinforced concrete subject to shear, the use of composites in construction and the strengthening of existing structures. He is also interested in the role of engineering research and design in a broader architectural, social and environmental context.

He 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 large concrete and steel building structures, mostly in London. Rob carried out his PhD research at the University of Cambridge, investigating the behaviour of reinforced concrete slab-on-beam structures strengthened in shear with externally bonded carbon fibre reinforced polymer fabrics.


  • the role of engineering research and design in a broader architectural, social and environmental context
  • architecture
  • natural materials innovation, particularly the use of timber in buildings