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Engineering and the EnvironmentOur research

Research Group: Infrastructure Group

Currently Active: 

The Infrastructure Research Division encompasses research carried out in the areas of geomechanics, and structures and construction.

Group Overview

Recent achievements in key research areas include:

  • lead participation in the EPSRC centre for rail systems research, RRUK
  • EPSRC field monitoring projects at Canary Wharf and Canada Water (JLE); Blackwater Valley (Surrey); Coventry; Heathrow Terminal 4; and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Ashford
  • centrifuge model testing programmes on stabilised base retaining walls and pile-stabilised cutting slopes (both TRL funded), and temporary trackways (DERA)
  • field and centrifuge model testing programmes to investigate the response of transmission tower foundations to dynamic loads and climate change (National Grid plc; three grants: £580,000)
  • large-scale tests on the hydraulic properties of refuse in the context of sustainable landfill and waste stabilisation (EPSRC/Cleanaway); and laboratory tests to investigate factors affecting the rate and magnitude of secondary settlements of landfills (EPSRC) and biological clogging of leachate drains (BNFL)
  • advanced numerical modelling (using discrete element, 3D finite difference and finite element analyses, and a 3D particle-based code) applied to the Three Gorges Project (China), shear bands in particulate materials (EPSRC), stability of masonry retaining walls (Highways Agency), hydrocarbon exploration in Colombia (BP), soil penetration processes incorporating interface adhesion
  • development of web-based geotechnical data visualisation systems (Southampton e-Science Centre, EPSRC)
  • EPSRC platform grants in liquid and gas flow processes in wastes, and the management of residual wastes
  • the use of carbon fibre-reinforced composites to strengthen cast and wrought iron and steel beams in bridges and other structures, and to strengthen cast iron struts under preload
  • the innovative use of polymer composite materials in bridge and sandwich panel construction
  • the use of high-strength reinforced cast stone in novel applications such as building panels, and earthquake and blast-resistance structures
  • shear and moment capacities of reinforced concrete pile caps
  • soil–structure interaction of reinforced concrete integral bridges
  • behaviour of steel sheet piles
  • management of vibrations in long-span steel–concrete composite beams
  • post-plastic analysis of pitched roof portal frames
  • strength, fatigue and fracture of tubular onshore and offshore structures

Advanced soil-testing apparatus (cyclic triaxial, resonant column, hollow cylinder) is being used for problems ranging from characterisation of the Atherfield Clay (EPSRC funding) to the dynamic behaviour of offshore gas hydrates at high pressure and low temperature and railway sub-base materials (EPSRC/RRUK).  

We have contributed to fundamental knowledge in the areas of groundwater control, retaining walls, landfill engineering, soil behaviour, structural repair techniques and the safety of offshore structures. CFRP beam research led to the largest ever structural strengthening contract using carbon-fibre composites at Shadwell station, LUL. Research results are consistently disseminated to industry through authorship of guidance documents and reports.

We currently hold over £4 million in research funding, supporting over 30 researchers. Much of this is derived from EPSRC sources but we also receive significant financial support from charities, industry and government. We collaborate extensively with the construction and waste management industries, and have international research links with institutions in China, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Kazakhstan, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa and Western Australia.

We welcome applications to carry out doctoral research in our areas of expertise. For further information please contact the Head of Division, Professor David Richards, or our administrative team.

Contact us

Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science Unit

Engineering and the Environment
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Senior administrative officer: Melanie Hallford

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2192


Administrative officers: Sheila Stickland

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 8946


Aparna Subaiah-Varma 

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7745


Satwant Virdee

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 4914



Infrastructure research

Postgraduate opportunities

Postgraduate programmes:

MSc Civil Engineering (1 year)



Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Ahmad Fuad Ab GhaniPostgraduate research student
Mithila Achintha Lecturer in Structural Engineering
Olufemi AjayiPostgraduate research student
Fikri AlamiPostgraduate Research Student
Bogdan Alexandru BalanPostgraduate Research Student
John BarkerProfessor
Max BartonVisiting Teaching Fellow
Richard BeavenPrincipal Research Fellow
Alan BloodworthLecturer
David BrownTeaching Fellow
Paul BulkeleyTeaching Fellow
Roy ButterfieldEmeritus Professor
Michael Patrick ByfieldLecturer
Adrian ChandlerVisiting Professor
Derek ClarkeLecturer in Water Resources
Chris ClaytonProfessor of Infrastructure Engineering
Laurence George CloughPostgraduate Research Student
Simon K ClubleyLecturer in Structural Engineering
Margarida Fernandes de Pinho LopesLecturer in Geomechanics
Richard HarknessEmeritus
John HarknessSenior Research Fellow
Andrew HudsonResearch Fellow
Paul KempProfessor of Ecological Engineering
Keith KnoxVisiting Professor
Louis Le PenResearch Fellow
Carl Leroy-SmithVisiting Senior Teaching Fellow
Fleur LoveridgeRoyal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow
Athanasios MakrodimopoulosSenior Research Fellow
Alastair McDonaldDirector of Design Education
Dharumarajen NayagumResearch Fellow
Matthew PotticaryPostgraduate research student
William PowrieProfessor of Geotechnical Engineering
Mathew E ProcterPostgraduate research student in Geomechanics
Tristan Rees-WhiteResearch Fellow
David RichardsProfessor
Suriya RuangpattanaResearch Fellow
David SandersonProfessor of Tectonics and Geomechanics
Joel SmethurstLecturer
Anne StringfellowSenior Research Fellow
Abhishek TiwaryLecturer in Bio-mediated Infrastructures
David TurnerSenior Research Assistant
Jean VenablesVisiting Professor
Geoff WatsonResearch Fellow
Nick WoodmanResearch Fellow
Antonis ZervosAssociate Professor in Geomechanics

Related Projects

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