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Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment

A part-time Master's course from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Alice Moncaster PhD CEng MICE


Dr Moncaster is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering and a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow and Director of Studies at Newnham College.  She originally studied Engineering at Cambridge; since then she has researched soil-structure interaction under dynamic loading in the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre at Bristol, and worked for ten years in industry as a geotechnical and building structures design engineer.  She returned to academia in 2008.  Her research focuses on: whole life carbon and energy analysis; risk and resilience in future climates, including buildings and flood alleviation infrastructure; and policies and decision making for sustainable construction.  

She is currently the UK participant on the International Energy Agency Annex 57 on “Evaluation of Embodied Energy and Carbon Dioxide Emissions for Building Construction”, a four year (2012-2016)  multi-national project led by Japan.  She is the Principal Investigator for two further research projects: the EPSRC-funded Implementing whole life carbon in buildings, an industry/academia collaboration with Sturgis, Arup, Atkins, SBP and the RICS; and Quantifying embodied carbon reduction potential in buildings, co-funded by the Isaac Newton Trust and the IDBE, for which Francesco Pomponi is the postdoctoral researcher.  Previously she led a team developing ECEB, a calculation tool to predict whole life embodied carbon and energy of buildings, with £180k funding from the EPSRC; she has since developed and used the tool in a number of research projects.

Alice supervises several PhD students: she is the principal supervisor for Chris Seeley, working on Life cycle carbon and energy of commercial office buildings, and for Hannah Baker, on Decision analysis for demolition or adaptation of existing buildings on brownfield sites: and she is part of the supervisory teams for Christiana Smyrilli looking at Infrastructure and gendered decisions in developing countries; for Iason Pelekis considering  Soil-Structure Interaction for Low Damage Seismic Rocking Systems;  and for Catherine De Wolf at MIT looking at: Structural Material Quantities and their environmental impact.  Two recent PhD students, Kayla Friedman and Sarah Fitton, successfully completed their research in 2015.

Research Interests

  • Whole life carbon and energy of buildings - calculations, policies, and practices
  • Risk and resilience in future climates
  • Policies and decision making for sustainable construction