The quality of research in Universities across the UK is peer-reviewed periodically. The most recent results were published in December 2014.  The impact of GCU’s work on the Built Environment was rated in the Top 20 in the UK.

GCU's position as a world-class research institution has been reaffirmed by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.

GCU research in the Built Environment performed strongly overall in the UK, with impact in this area rated as top 20 in the UK combining world-leading and internationally excellent research submissions.

Recent case studies


GCU's position as a world-class research institution has been reaffirmed by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.

GCU research in the Built Environment performed strongly overall in the UK, with impact in this area rated as top 20 in the UK combining world-leading and internationally excellent research submissions.


GCU and EDF Energy collaborate for safer, reliable power supply

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and EDF Energy are continuing their collaboration to enhance the safety and reliability of high-voltage equipment in power stations, through a new £116,000 research project.

Research conducted by GCU since 2011 has changed the way power cables and motors are monitored in EDF Energy’s power stations, providing innovative techniques which enable the identification of cable insulation defects and improvement of its maintenance programme.

The partnership has enabled the development of a portable cable-monitoring system for on-line detection of faults known as partial discharge (PD), allowing, through software analysis, testing to pinpoint the location of the fault. This research has helped EDF enhance practice in PD testing, reduce maintenance and repair costs by millions of pounds while continuing to reliably supply electrical power to the UK network.

Cable insulation resistance provides another, more general measure of insulation deterioration. However, this is currently carried out during off-line measurements. EDF’s off-line cable degradation is currently measured during planned shutdowns every three years. As it is recognised that cable insulation could be at risk of fault between these outages, an alternative strategy is required.

GCU and EDF Energy now aim to develop a new on-line insulation-resistance measurement technique to enable detection of any major reduction in insulation resistance of the cable circuit, identifying faults without shutting down the operational equipment. This would allow on-going monitoring of cable insulation wear and tear and prevention of more serious problems.

Funded by EDF, a full-time PhD research student will be recruited for three years, commencing in February 2016, to deliver the development of a novel on-line insulation resistance measurement technique. The project will be overseen by Professor Chengke Zhou and Dr Donald M Hepburn.

Doble Engineering funds high voltage faults partnership with GCU

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Doble Engineering Company are continuing their collaboration to develop innovative condition monitoring products and services to detect faults and predict power failures for the electric supply industry.

Over the next three years, Doble Engineering will fully fund two PhD studentships to work on a new project to apply innovative machine learning techniques to the classification of fault conditions with the purpose of practical implementation to real-time condition assessment of rotating machines operated on-line.

Operating in more than 110 countries worldwide, Doble Engineering Company is a leader in asset risk management, diagnostic test instruments, expert consulting and knowledge services for the electric power industry throughout the world as well as within the UK.

In 2013, Doble Engineering Company launched the Innovation Centre for On-Line Systems at GCU.

As part of its research and development process, Doble has established Centres of Innovation, which are comprised of critical team members from across Doble and its partner organisations focused on developing core technologies. 

Working with GCU’s Institute for Sustainable Engineering and Technology Research, Doble Solutions Architect Philip Boreham is directing R&D activities to improve the measurement and assessment of the condition of high voltage systems, identifying new opportunities to enhance the reliability and integrity of power stations and developing new partial discharge monitoring products and technologies.

GCU’s Alan Nesbitt said: “The research team are pleased to continue to be a partner with Doble Engineering to research and deliver the next generation of on-line condition assessment instruments.”

GCU Subway heat research leads to SPT award

A Glasgow Caledonian University supported initiative focusing on the development of sustainable heat sources has won a Scottish Transport Award.

GCU worked with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to exploit wastewater in its Subway tunnels to turn it into heat.

Following successful research with the University, SPT is now trialling new energy-efficient heat-pump systems using water and air in the Subway.

The project won the Contribution to Sustainable Transport category at the 2016 Scottish Transport Awards.

The work was undertaken as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with GCU, whose researchers established that the water captured in the underground tunnels has a temperature of around 10-14°C, which is sufficient for extracting heat for use as a sustainable heat source.

New heat-pump systems were trialled in St George’s Cross and Bridge Street Subways, and have been extended to other stations with potential for roll out across the network.

GCU’s Dr Nicholas Hytiris, a geotechnical specialist, and his team analysed all 21 sumps in the tunnels to monitor water flow and water temperature.

The team also established that the warm, humid air in the Subway can be captured and used to heat station offices. Since June 2014, measurements for the air temperature, air humidity and air flow have been undertaken.

The team comprising Dr Hytiris, Konstantinos Ninikas, Professor Rohinton Emmanuel and Bjorn Aaen have demonstrated that the air and water heat pumps are cost-effective development strategies for improving water management.

Dr Hytiris said: “This research has demonstrated that ingress water and air can be used beneficially to provide cheap heat energy to premises and the community. SPT has already extended the initial trials to include Kelvinbridge and Buchanan Street stations.”

Safe Reliable Power

Since 2011 we have worked with EDF Energy to increase safety and enhance efficiencies at power stations across the UK by providing innovative software solutions to accurately pinpoint insulation defects in thousands of metres of cables. This research has helped EDF enhance practice in cable testing, reduce maintenance and repair costs by millions of pounds and continue to offer a highly reliable supply of electrical power to the UK national grid. Read article

Research Leader: Professor Chengke Zhou 

Sustainable Heat Energy

In this award-winning work with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) we designed novel energy-efficient heat-pump systems to transform waste water and air, with temperatures of around 10-14°C, from the City of Glasgow Rail Subway network into a source of sustainable heat energy. New heat-pump systems were installed in 2 stations with a view to roll out across the network. Read article

Research Leader: Dr Nicholas Hytiris

Helping People with Dementia

We have been working with the Playlist for Life, a charity to encourage families and other caregivers to offer people with dementia a playlist of music that has been meaningful to them during their life. This can be a powerful tool for improving the social, cognitive and emotional facets of well being of those with dementia and their supporters. Playlist for Life was founded in 2013 by GCU honorary graduate Dr Sally Magnusson. View video.

Research Leader: Professor Gianna Cassidy

High voltage condition monitoring

For several years we have worked Doble, a global supplier of energy diagnostic products and solutions, on developing a range of high voltage condition monitoring Instruments. One is the PDS100 a radio frequency interference (RFI) surveying tool that is designed for partial discharge measurement in a live substation. This instrument monitors and analyses multiple parameters simultaneously. This gives ility companies actionable real-time information on the major faults and electrical conditions which affect the reliability and running of high voltage equipment. Read article.

Research Leader: Alan Nesbitt