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Dr Rob Foster

Dr Rob Foster

Research Associate

Centre for Natural Materials Innovation

Natural Materials and Structures Group


Rob is a structural engineer and Research Associate working in the Natural Materials and Structures Group. Rob is currently working on the Super Tall Timber project in collaboration with the cross-disciplinary Centre for Natural Materials Innovation. This work was awarded the 2016 RIBA President's Award for Research in the Design and Technical category. Rob's research is funded by an EPSRC Bright IDEAS Award.

Rob 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.

Rob is a member of Queens' College, Cambridge.

Research Interests


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.

Rob is also interested in the role of engineering research and design in a broader architectural, social and environmental context.

Key Publications

Journal articles

Ramage, M, Foster, R., Smith, S., Flanagan, K., and Bakker, R. (2017) "Super Tall Timber: design research for the next generation of natural structure", The Journal of Architecture, [online]

Foster, R.M. and Ramage, M.H. (2016). "Briefing Super Tall Timber - Oakwood Tower", Proceedings of the ICE - Construction Materials, [online]

Foster, R.M., Reynolds, T.P.S. and Ramage, M.H. (2016). “Proposal for defining a tall, timber building”, J. Struct. Eng., 142(12),

Foster, R., Morley, C., and Lees, J. (2016). "Modified Push-Off Testing of an Inclined Shear Plane in Reinforced Concrete Strengthened with CFRP Fabric." J. Compos. Constr., 20(3), 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000623

Foster, R.M., Brindley, M., Lees, J.M., Ibell, T.J., Morley C.T., Darby, A.P. and Evernden, M.C. (2016). “Experimental Investigation of Reinforced Concrete T-beams Strengthened in Shear with Externally Bonded CFRP Sheets”, J. Compos. Constr., 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000743 [online]

Foster, R.M. and Ibell, T.J. (2016) “A numerical solution for the shape of fabric-formed concrete structures”, Structures, 8(1) [online]

Conference papers

Foster, R.M., Lees J.M. and Morley, C.T. (2015) "An Experimental Investigation into the Effect of Externally Bonded CFRP Fabrics on the Shear Behaviour of Reinforced Concrete T-beams" Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Conference on Advanced Composites In Construction, Cambridge, Sept 9-11 2015.

Foster, R.M., Lees, J.M., Morley, C.T. (2014) 'Relating Shear Transfer Experiments to FRP Strengthened Beam Behaviour in Shear', Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on FRP Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE), August 20-22.

Foster, R.M., Morley, C.T. and Lees, J.M. (2013) "Shear Transfer Across a Diagonal Crack in Reinforced Concrete Strengthened with Externally Bonded FRP Fabric"Advanced Composites in Construction (ACIC) 2013 Conference Proceedings, September 10-12, pp. 181-192.

Architectural press

Ramage, M. and Foster, R. (2016) "Supertall Timber", The RIBA Journal, December 2016, 123(12), p. 41

Foster, R. and Ramage, M. (2016) "Super Tall Timber Project: Un grattacielo di legno a Londra", Legnoarchitettura, 24, pp. 106-111