on 23rd January 2019, Guang Zou (ESR5) became the second TRUSS ESR in successfully defending his doctoral thesis in front of an examination panel appointed by the Postgraduate Committee at University College Dublin (UCD). The thesis, titled “Probabilistic Methods for Life Cycle Management of Steel Structures under Fatigue” and directed by Dr. Kian Banisoleiman from Lloyd’s Register EMEA, Associate Prof. Arturo Gonzalez from UCD and Prof. Michael Habvro Faber from Aalborg University, was submitted on the 18th December 2018. The defence was held in meeting room 3.10 of Lloyd’s Register Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus. The jury was composed by Prof. Torgeir Moan (External Examiner from the Department of Marine Technology in Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)), Dr. Daniel McCrum (Internal Examiner from UCD), and Dr. John O’Sullivan (Chair from UCD). The VIVA was also attended by Kian Banisoleiman and Arturo Gonzalez.
Unlike the first TRUSS PhD VIVA, which was a public defence in UPC, the current VIVA took place under UCD regulations, where a VIVA is not opened to the public. Only the candidate, internal and external examiners and the chair are present. Supervisors can be present, but only as witnesses if the candidate authorizes it. The thesis is assessed in an oral defence VIVA examination going through the chapters of the thesis one by one, with the outcome being: (a) Award the Doctoral degree – no corrections required, (b) Award the Doctoral degree – corrections required, (c) Award the Doctoral degree – revision without re-examination, (d) Revise thesis and submit for re-examination, (e) Do not award the Doctoral degree – recommendation that the candidate transfer to an appropriate graduate programme, and (f) Do not award the Doctoral degree. More details of the UCD examination procedure can be found here. Guang’s defense began with a 10-minute presentation focused on main contributions of thesis, after which, the Examiners posed questions to Guang on a chapter by chapter fashion, concluding at 1:00 pm when the Examiners considered that all aspects of the thesis have been examined to their satisfaction. Following a short period of deliberation, the Examiners awarded the doctoral degree subjected to minor corrections.
The format of the thesis was in the form of a compendium of papers. The thesis was structured into 7 chapters and 9 appendices, including 4 papers submitted for publication in prestigious journals with high JCR impact (currently under review). Additionally, Guang has published 13 conference papers. His main contributions are summarized in the abstract of the thesis, which is reproduced below.