PhD Graduate 2016 - Fernando Madrazo-Aguirre
Fernando completed his PhD in the behaviour of an innovative type of cable-stayed bridges in 2016; he now works as an engineer in COWI.
After finishing a degree in Civil Engineering in Spain, he worked for three years in industry in the design of all types of structures. “However, research had always attracted me and I was looking for international experience”, he explains. The opportunity to pursue a PhD with some excellent academics arose, so he took up the challenge.
“These four years of research were extremely rewarding from both a professional and personal perspective. I strengthened my knowledge by understanding the mechanics of different structural systems and developed skills that have resulted fundamental in my career: communication and management” he adds when looking back at the learning outcomes of his PhD.
During this time, he was also involved in teaching, a passion that he developed by helping undergraduate and graduate students. Recently, he was appointed Visiting Design Fellow where “I try to bring all the experience from industry to provide students with skills to succeed in their careers”.
After a short period as a post-doc and publishing his research outcomes, he left the Department to join Flint&Neill, a structural engineering consultancy. Now the company is part of the COWI group and Fernando is involved in the design and strengthening of bridges and special structures all over the world. Some of these projects include the EJ Whitten Bridge and the West Gate Bridge, both in Melbourne, a footbridge competition in Zurich and most recently a suspension bridge: “this bridge is going to be a world record with the longest span; the first bridge that will surpass the 2 km barrier”, a project in which he is working from Copenhagen. “A real honour for someone who likes bridges like me” he adds.
Looking back at his Imperial times, he concludes that “all the knowledge gained during my PhD is fundamental to face the technical challenges of a project like this suspension bridge. But one of the aspects that I most value is the human relationships developed during my research period”.