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Professor William Powrie

Professor William Powrie

Professor of Geotechnical Engineering

Research interests

  • Railway track and trackbed behaviour and performance.
  • Geotechnical transportation infrastructure (earthworks, retaining walls, tunnels).
  • Groundwater and groundwater control.

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.


William Powrie is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton. He is the author of the internationally-acclaimed textbook Soil Mechanics: Concepts and Applications, now in its third edition. A particular focus of his work is the application of soil mechanics principles to "difficult" soils and soil-like materials, including landfilled waste, strongly interlocked sands, and railway ballast. He works closely with industry. He has been involved in a variety of major civil engineering projects including the Conwy and Medway immersed tube tunnels, Jubilee Line stations at Canary Wharf and Canada Water and HS1; and he chairs HS2's Independent Geotechnical Expert Panel. He is well known for his founding contributions to Environmental and Transportation Geotechnics, in recognition of which he was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2009. He has been Convenor of the 15-university UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) since 2018, and leads the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) Infrastructure Centre of Excellence.