Department of Engineering / Profiles / Professor Janet Lees

Department of Engineering

Professor Janet Lees


Janet Lees

Professor in Civil Engineering

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research group: Structures

Telephone: +44 1223 3 32678


Personal website


Research interests

The overarching aim of Dr Lees' research group is to provide more sustainable infrastructure solutions. This is achieved through an improved understanding of existing infrastructure assets, the use of new materials and the creation of advanced structural systems. We have particular interests in concrete and FRPs (Fibre Reinforced Polymers) and investigating novel ways to combine these materials for further advantage.  

Selected topic areas with links to current projects are as follows:

Prestressing tendons for concrete: The use of advanced durable materials as prestressing tendons for concrete would potentially avoid the current problems associated with the corrosion of steel reinforcement. Such materials of particular interest in offshore applications.

Strength assessment of reinforced concrete structures: Research that delivers improved analytical tools and experimental evidence for the more accurate assessment of existing structures has a direct impact on management strategies for existing reinforced concrete infrastructure. 

Strengthening and repair of existing structures: With increased traffic loading, changes in design codes and the unexpected deterioration of structures, there is a tremendous need for ways of extending the lifetime of existing structures.

Advanced analyses: Reinforced concrete structures are unusual in that they are often designed to be cracked under service loading. However, the presence of cracks introduces significant numerical challenges when modelling the behaviour of RC structures.

Time-dependent behaviour of unstrengthened and FRP strengthened structures: Reinforced concrete is a complex material where time-dependent influences such as concrete creep change the load sharing between the concrete, any internal steel and, where present, external FRP reinforcement.

Additional research areas include:

Glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) pipelines: Vast sums of money have been spent trying to mitigate the exposure of steel pipelines to corrosive environments, both internal and external. Pipelines made with FRPs will have longer predicted lifetimes and lower installation and maintenance costs.

Sustainable concrete: Globally, 1.5 billion tonnes of cement are produced each year. As such, any environmental savings in terms of the energy consumption during the manufacture of concrete or the incorporation of waste materials into concrete will have a significant impact.

Strategic themes

Energy, transport and urban infrastructure

Lifetime extension of reinforced concrete structures; strengthening and repair of existing structures; advanced materials for new construction.

Manufacturing, design and materials

Engagement mechanisms and structures in complex consortia to maximise commitment to portfolio planning and research uptake from commercial and academic stakeholders.

Research projects

  • Bridge Engineering
  • Structural Theory
  • New Materials in Structural Engineering

Teaching activity

  • First year Structural Mechanics Course
  • First year Structural Design Course
  • Fourth year module 4D7 - Concrete and Masonry Structures


Dr Janet Lees is a Reader in Civil Engineering at the University of Cambridge and is a Chartered Engineer. Before embarking on a career in research, she spent three years in Industry working both for a Consultant and for a Contractor. She received her PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Cambridge.  She is the leader of the Concrete and Composite Structures Group (CCSG) within the Civil Engineering Division.  The main research interests of her group relate to reinforced concrete and the use of advanced materials in construction.  Ongoing project areas include the strength assessment of existing reinforced concrete infrastructure, fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) strengthening systems, the time-dependent behaviour of reinforced concrete and carbon FRP prestressed concrete structures. 

She is a Fellow of St John's College and a Director of the University of Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment.