PhD research

The Geotechnics Research group undertake an extremely broad range of work - encompassing theoretical work, advanced laboratory testing and numerical analysis.

To support our work, we have invested some £500,000 in upgrading our laboratory facilities in the last few years, in addition to upgrading our specialist computing provision to support our numerical analysis work.  

The group has an active 'Colloquium' system (formal presentations of PhD students' annual progress to other students and staff in the group) in addition to the formal requirements of the College, culminating in a thesis and viva voce examination.

Students enjoy access to external speakers giving presentations and lectures throughout the year, informal Tea-Time-Talks and a close, friendly relationship with staff, always interested in discussing ideas and results.

An overview of current research activity can be obtained by reference to either the academic staff or researchers pages. A good impression of recent research is given by reviewing the abstracts of the recently completed PhDs. All of these are available from the drop down menu's below.

For  information on current research vacancies, please contact either Dr Stavroula Kontoe or Sue Feller. For information on our current projects, visit our research page.  For more information about the PhD programme, please visit the 

For more information about the PhD programme, please visit the Department's postgraduate research pages. This page includes details of fees, what to put into an application, and how to apply. 

View potential PhD supervisors

Geotechnics Academic and Teaching Staff A-Z

 Antonio Carrero

Antonio Carraro

Senior Lecturer in Experimental Geotechnics, PhD, MSc, BSc
Fundamental soil mechanics; Advanced laboratory testing of soils; Sustainable geomaterials; Intermediate soils; Offshore sediments.
 Klementyna Gawecka

Klementyna Gawecka

Maternity cover
Email Klementyna
 Ghail, Richard

Richard Ghail

Lecturer in Engineering Geology, PhD
Tectonic Geomorphology London Basin Structure Permafrost fissuring of over-consolidated clays.
 Jardine, Richard

Richard Jardine

Professor of Geomechanics; College Consul for Engineering and the Business School, FREng, MSc, DIC, PhD, FICE, FCGI
Soil Mechanics; Constitutive behaviour; Laboratory & Field experiments; Instrumentation; Geotechnical design; Soft Ground engineering; Deep Foundations; Offshore Geotechnics; Geohazards; Cold Region Geotechnics.
 Stavroula Kontoe

Stavroula Kontoe

Senior Lecturer in Soil Mechanics, MSc, DIC, PhD, CEng, MICE
Site response; Dynamic behaviour of soils and earth structures. 
 James Lawrence

James Lawrence

Senior Lecturer in Geotechnics
Upper Cretaceous carbonates (Chalk), geological disposal of radioactive waste, geomechanics, structural geology, petroleum reservoir characterisation, modelling slope instability, coastal recession related to the impact of climate change and weathering of rock.  
 Catherine O'Sullivan

Catherine O'Sullivan

Reader in Particulate Soil Mechanics, PhD, MIEI
Discrete element modelling; Particulate soil mechanics; Micro-computed tomography; Internal erosion; Stress wave propagation; Cyclic soil response; Validation of discrete element models.
 Dave Potts

Dave Potts 

GCG Professor of Analytical Soil Mechanics, PhD, FREng, CEng, FICE
Application of FEM to geotechnical problems; Geotechnical numerical analysis; Constitutive modelling; Soil-stru cture interaction.
 Jamie Standing

Jamie Standing

Reader in GeotechnicsPhD, CEng, MICE
Soil-structure interaction; Tunnelling and deep excavations; Field monitoring; Piles; Model testing; Partly saturated soils and residual soils. 
 David Taborda

David Taborda

Lecturer in Geotechnics,  DIC, PhD 
Computational geomechanics; Constitutive modelling of soils; Soil dynamics; Cyclic soil behaviour; Soil-Structure interaction; Geothermal energy systems; Thermo-hydro-mechanical behaviour of soils; Optimisation algorithms.
 Katerina Tsiampousi

Katerina Tsiampousi

Lecturer in Geotechnics PhD
THM modelling of geo-materials; behaviour of partially saturated media in deep nuclear repositories; reliability and risk of geotechnical structures (excavations, tunnels, slopes, foundations); behaviour of railway embankments under seasonal changes in suction.
 Lidija Zdravkovic

Lidija Zdravkovic

Professor of Computational Geomechanics, DIC, PhD 
Development and application of FEM in geotechnical engineering; Constitutive modelling; Unsaturated soils; THM modelling of geomaterials; Soil-structure interaction; Laboratory testing of soils.
Geotechnics Academics A-Z
Geotechnics Academics A-Z

View current researchers and their research topics

Geotechnics Research Students A-Z

 David Abadias

David Abadias

Started Oct 2014
Numerical analysis of monopiles for offshore wind turbines
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Taborda, D.
Email David
Christine Bischoff

Christine Bischoff

Started Oct 2014
Investigating ground movement and its causes in London, UK, using Permanent Scatterer Interferometry
As part of the CDT in Sustainable Civil Engineering
Supervised by: Ghail, R.C., Mason, P.
Email Christine
 Róisín Buckley

Róisín Buckley

Started Oct 2014
Rationalising offshore wind turbine pile design and assurance in difficult ground conditions
Supervised by: Jardine, R.J.Kontoe, S. 
Email Roisin
Justyna Edgar

Justyna Edgar

Started Oct 2016
The origins of Harwich formation
Supervised by: Ghail, R.C.Lawrence, J.A
Email Justyna
 Giulia Marianna Ghiadistri

Giulia Marianna Ghiadistri

Started Oct 2015
Numerical study of bentonite buffers homogenisation upon re-saturation
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Potts, D.M.Tsiampousi, A.
Email Giulia
 Benjamin Guo

Benjamin Guo 

Started Oct 2016
The re-use and sustainability of flood defences
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Tsiampousi, A.Onof, C.
Email Benjamin
 Hendarto Hendarto

Hendarto Hendarto 

Started Oct 2015
Numerical study of bentonite buffers homogenisation upon re-saturation
Supervised by: Standing, J.R.
Email Hendarto
 Hoang Nguyen

Hoang Nguyen

Started February 2016
Micromechanics of shear wave propagation and small-strain stiffness in granular soil
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.
Email Hoang
 Andrew Kirkham

Andrew Kirkham

Started Oct 2016
Numerical study of bentonite buffers homogenisation upon re-saturation
Supervised by: Tsiampousi, A.Potts, D.M.
Email Andrew
 Christopher Knight

Christopher Knight

Started Oct 2014
Multiscale analysis of liquefaction phenomena in soils
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.
Email Christopher
 Tingfa Liu

Tingfa Liu

Started Oct 2014
Advanced laboratory testing of Offshore Wind Turbine foundations under lateral loading
Supervised by: Jardine, R.
Email Tingfa
 Vasileios Mantikos

Vasileios Mantikos 

Started Oct 2014
Title to be confirmed
Supervised by:
Email Vasileios
 Daniel Martinez Calonge

Daniel Martinez Calonge

Started Oct 2013
Experimental investigation of Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical behaviour of soils
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.; Sim, W.W.
Email Daniel
 Eleonora Sailer

Eleonora Sailer

Started Oct 2015
Numerical analysis of thermo-active retaining structures
Supervised by: Taborda, D.Zdravkovic, L.
Email Eleonora
 Evangelia Skiada

Evangelia Skiada

Started Oct 2014
The consistent incorporation of topography effects into ground motion prediction models
Supervised by: Kontoe, S.; Stafford, P.
Email Evangelia
 Sarah Tallett-Williams

Sarah Tallett-Williams

Started Oct 2013
Site classification for seismic hazard assessment
Supervised by: Fenton, C.H.
Email Sarah
 Vasiliki Tsaparli

Vasiliki Tsaparli

Started Oct 2013
Numerical modelling of liquifaction mitigation measures
Supervised by: Kontoe, S.; Taborda, D.
Email Vasiliki
 Emil Ushev

Emil Ushev

Started Jan 2014
Advanced laboratory testing for offshore wind turbine foundations
supervised by: Jardine, R.J.
Email Emil
Ken Vinck

Ken Vinck

Started Oct 2016
Advanced laboratory testing to enable sustainable and cost-effective offshore wind turbine design 
supervised by: Jardine, R.J.
Email Ken
Geotechnics Research Students A-Z
Geotechnics Academics A-Z

View completed PhD research titles

Geotechnics 2010-2017

NameTitle and supervisor
Summersgill, Freya Numerical modelling of stiff clay cut slopes with nonlocal strain regularisation
Supervised by: Kontoe, S.Potts, D.M.
Wan, Siu Pong Field investigation on effect of tunnelling in London Clay
Supervised by: Standing, J.R.Burland, J.B.Potts, D.M.
Han, Bo Hydro-mechanical coupling in numerical analysis of geotechnical structures under multi-directional seismic loading
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Kontoe, S.
Lessi Cheimariou, Angeliki Seismic engineering: consistent representation of ground motion
Supervised by: Kontoe, S.Stafford, P.


NameTitle and supervisor
Alhaj Abdalla, Khalid M.A. Mechanical response of two plastic clay soils from Sudan
Supervised by: Standing, J.R.
Avgerinos, Vasilis Numerical Investigation of tunnelling beneath existing tunnels
Supervised by: Potts, D.M.Standing, J.R.
Huang, Xin Exploring critical-state behaviour using DEM
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.Kwook, F. (University of Hong Kong)
Newman, Tim Confined space hypoxia in the Thames Tideway tunnel
Supervised by: Ghail, R.CStanding, J.R.
Ní Bhreasail, Aine An investigation of the micromechanical response of soil to one dimensional compression in varied thermal conditions.
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.Fenton, C.H., Lee, P.D. 
O'Donovan, John Micromechanics of Wave Propagation through Granular Material.
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C. 
Pelecanos, Loizos Seismic performance, analysis and design of earthfill dams
Supervised by: Kontoe, S.O'Sullivan, C. 
Shire, Thomas Micromechanical study of suffusion in soils
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C., Van Wachem, B.
Yu, Jessica Assessing ground interaction effects and potential damage on existing tunnels before and after new excavation wor
Supervised by:  Standing, J.R.Vollum, R.Potts, D.M.Burland, J.B.
Kimpritis, Thomas The control of column diameter and strength in Jet Grouting processes and the influence of ground conditions (MPhil)
Supervised by: Standing, J.R.


NameTitle and supervisor
Pedro, António M. G. Geotechnical investigation of Ivens shaft in Lisbon
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.
Rimoy, Siya, P. Ageing and axial cyclic loading studies of displacement piles in sands
Supervised by: Jardine, R.


NameTitle and supervisor
Brosse, A Study of the anisotropy of three British mudrocks using a hollow cylinder apparatus.
Supervised by: Jardine, R.
Hosseini Kamal, R Experimental study of the geotechnical properties of U.K mudrocks.
Supervised by: Coop, M. Jardine, R.
Shen, C.-K A micromechanical investigation of drained simple shear tests on dense sand using discrete element simulations
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.Jardine, R.


NameTitle and supervisor
Wilkinson, Stephen The Microstructure of UK Mudrocks
Supervised by: Fenton, C., Coop, M.
Fonseca, J The evolution of morphology and fabric of a sand during shearing
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C., Coop, M. 
Giannopoulos, K  Numerical analysis of the re-use of piled roughed foundations.
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Potts, D.M.
Taborda, D  Development of constitutive models for application in soil dynamics.
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Kontoe, S.
Tsiampousi, A  Numerical analysis of slopes in unsaturated soils.
Supervised by: Zdravkovic, L.Potts, D.M.


NameTitle and supervisor
Barreto Gonzalez, Daniel Numerical and experimental investigation into the behaviour of granular materials under generalised stress states
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C.Zdravkovic, L.
Arango Gaviria, Maria Cristina Ground-Motion Prediction for Subduction-Zone Earthquakes: Insights from South and Central American data
Supervised by: Bommer, J., Strasser, Fleur
Papaspiliou, Myrto-Ioanna On the Incorporation of Site Response in Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analyses
Supervised by: Kontoe, S., Bommer, J.
Cavarretta, Ignazio The influence of particles characteristics on the engineering behaviour of granular materials
Supervised by: Coop, M., O'Sullivan, C.
Cheung, L.-Y.G. Micromechanics of sand production in oil wells
Supervised by: O'Sullivan, C., Coop, M. 
 Schuetz, R Numerical modelling of shotcrete for tunnelling
Supervised by: Potts, D.M.Zdravkovic, L.
 Shipton, B The Mechanics of transitional soils
Supervised by: Coop, M.

Geotechnics 2008-2009


NameTitle and supervisor
Abela, J Blinding struts in cut & cover excavations
Supervised by: Professor D. Potts/Dr R. Vollum/Professor B. A. Izzuddin
Aldama Bustos, G An exploratory study of parameter sensitivity, representation of results and extensions of PSHA: Case Study - United Arab Emirates
Supervised by: Professor J. Bommer
 Barreto Gonzalez, D Numerical and experimental investigation into the behaviour of granular materials under generalised stress states.
Supervised by: Dr C. O'Sullivan/Dr L. Zdravkovic
Cavarretta, I The Influence of Particle Characteristics on the Engineering Behaviour of Granular Materials
Supervised by: Professor M. Coop; Dr C. O'Sullivan
Zolghadr Zadeh Jahromi, H Nonlinear Soil-Structure Interaction 
Supervised by: Professor B. A. Izzuddin; Dr L. Zdravkovic


NameTitle and supervisor
Bodas Freitas, T M Numerical Modelling of the Time Dependent Behaviour of Clays
Supervised by: Professor D. Potts
Zabidi, H Studies of karst in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Supervised by: Dr M. de Freitas

Pre-2008 Information about completed PhD research prior to 2009 may be available from the section but is only available to registered members of the Department. Please contact Sue Feller.

Our academic standing


MEng Accredited CEng (Full)

Our degrees are accredited as fully satisfying the educational base for a Chartered Engineer (CEng). 
See for further information.

MSc (Technical)

Our degrees are accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired a partial CEng accredited undergraduate first degree. 
See for further information.



League table rankings

QS World Universities rankings

  • Subject Ranking. Civil Engineering = 4th (2017); 5th (2016); 4th (2015); 9th (2014); 1st (2013); 6th (2012). 
  • Overall, Imperial was voted 8th best university in the world in this year's QS rankings.

Education Guardian Unversity Guide (UK)

  • Subject Ranking. Engineering: Civil = 1st (2017); 1st (2016); 2nd (2015); 2nd (2014); 12th (2013).
  • Overall, Imperial was ranked 5th in this year's Guardian university guide.

The Sunday Times University guide (UK)

  • Subject Ranking. Civil, Chemical and other Engineering = 1st (2016).

The Times Higher Education world ranking

  • Subject Ranking. Engineering and Information Technology = 6th (2014/15); 9th (2013/14)
  • Overall, Imperial was ranked 9th best university in this year's Times Higher Education world rankings.

Complete University Guide 2016

  • Subject Ranking. Civil Engineering = 2nd (2017), 2nd (2016), 2nd (2015)
  • Overall, Imperial ranked 4th best university in this year's Complete University Guide.

National Student Survey

  • Overall Satisfaction, 96% (2016)

Research assessments

  • REF-14. 47% of research assessed to be 4* (highest rating), 48% assessed to be 3* and 5% assessed as 2*.
  • RAE 2008. 40% of research assessed to be 4* (highest rating), 55% assessed to be 3* and 3% assessed as 2*.