MSc 2013-2014

Avi Shonberg took the MSc in Soil Mechanics at Imperial College London in 2013-2014. He is now a Lead Geotechnical Engineer at Ørsted (previously known as DONG Energy) in London.

Avi Shonberg Prior to undertaking the MSc at Imperial College London, Avi graduated from a Civil Engineering degree at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) in 2008, after which he joined Golder Associates as a Geotechnical Engineer. During his early years as a practicing engineer, Avi was involved in numerous geotechnical site investigations and foundation design campaigns (both onshore and offshore) within Australia, South East Asia and West Africa. These experiences “made him aware that many of the fundamental aspects of modern day geotechnical engineering, such as site investigations, advanced laboratory testing, foundation design and numerical modelling, needed a sound theoretical background across the spectrum of geotechnical engineering knowledge areas, which only a postgraduate MSc type course could provide”.

The Imperial College London MSc Soil Mechanics course was “the obvious choice” as it was highly recommended by numerous colleagues who were Imperial College London alumni. “The network of Imperial College graduates genuinely spans the globe. A real benefit of undertaking the Imperial College London MSc course is the large, diverse and very talented group of people who you meet, with whom I am sure I will stay in contact with for many years to come”.

In 2013, Avi was awarded the Statoil Scholarship and subsequently undertook his MSc thesis on an offshore engineering related topic in collaboration with ScottishPower Renewables in London. This allowed Avi to get a first-hand taste of the design challenges associated with an offshore windfarm project and paved the way for the beginning of a career in the offshore renewables industry.

After graduating from Imperial College in 2014, Avi joined Ørsted (previously known as DONG Energy) where he is currently a Lead Geotechnical Engineer in the Geotechnical Design and Installation team. He has been involved in many aspects of foundation design for offshore windfarm developments in the UK, Germany, the USA and Taiwan. This has included scoping of offshore site investigations, scoping of laboratory testing programs, extensive involvement in detailed design works (including numerical analyses) and back analyses of the performance of structures currently operating in the offshore environment.

A key focus has been the detailed design and installation of suction buckets as a foundation solution to support offshore wind turbines. “The use of suction buckets to support offshore wind turbines was a world first” and detailed design of the innovative foundation solution required “the use of many concepts taught during the Imperial College MSc course”. Avi has also had extensive involvement with research activities associated with offshore foundations, including numerous JIP projects as well as being an industrial supervisor of a DPhil candidate at Oxford University.

“My time at Imperial College provided the basis for allowing me to do what I do today, not only in terms of knowledge gained, but also in terms of the people I met. It really was an excellent experience from start to finish”.