Following the Early Career Researcher workshop in December 2020, the UKCRIC coordination node indicated a willingness to fund the best early career researcher (ECR) project idea coming out of the workshop.
Earlier this year, the workshop participants were contacted to announce the results of the ECR competition, and if interested in participating, were asked to further develop their research idea by submitting a two-page proposal detailing the background to their research project. This was to be a rationale for the work to be performed including research question and objectives, methods and expected outcomes. One of the requirements for the proposals was to involve at least two UKCRIC universities.
After a review of the submissions, the project submitted by Dr Mehran Eskandari Torbaghan from the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Alvaro Garcia Hernandez from the University of Nottingham and Dr Long Zhang from the University of Manchester were announced as the winner of the ECR project competition for their project on “Identifying the most suitable machine learning approach for a road digital twin”.
The project will explore the potential of machine learning algorithms within a road digital twin framework. Various machine learning algorithms have been developed for modelling road deterioration and to predict its condition, however, none of the existing algorithms have been developed for a digital twin. Therefore, this proposed research project would play an important role in the development of road digital twins as an important step toward achieving its asset management improvement goals.
Dr Mehran Eskandari Torbaghan, University of Birmingham, said: “I am very much obliged and honoured to receive the ECR fund. It will bring a great opportunity for me to pursue my research interest on Digital Twins for roads, collaborate with other UKCRIC partners, and to continue building my research team. The review process itself was a great learning experience, which will help me to better prepare for similar opportunities in future. I would like to thank the review panel and the UKCRIC team for their great help and support.”