Joe Newhouse studied for the MSc in Soil Mechanics at Imperial College London part-time from 2015-2017. He passed with Distinction and was awarded the Peter Vaughan Memorial Medal as the “most outstanding student of the Soil Mechanics MSc courses”. In 2018, Joe was awarded the 49th Cooling Prize by the British Geotechnical Association for his paper “Ground movement due to shaft construction” which is based on his MSc dissertation.
Prior to undertaking the MSc at Imperial College London, Joe graduated from Bristol University in Civil Engineering in 2011. He then spent six months working as a visiting researcher at the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, assisting with the modelling of spudcan foundations. On returning to the UK, Joe joined Mott MacDonald as a Geotechnical Engineer.
Of his decision to apply for the MSc, Joe said “as a Graduate at Mott MacDonald, I’d had the opportunity to work on some technically challenging projects. Specifically, one comprised the stabilisation of large anchored slopes in a highly seismic region of the Mediterranean. Dynamic soil-structure interaction on a big scale; the project was not trivial. My motivation for doing the MSc was largely borne from realising that if I was going to be able to play more significant roles in tackling problems of this nature, I needed to enhance my knowledge of the fundamentals.”
Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’ is an allegory retold on the course as a warning against poor site investigations. Joe says however that it more broadly describes his experience of the MSc. “Ultimately, for me the course has turned many ‘unknown unknowns’ in to ‘known unknowns’ or better still, ‘known knowns’. I have increased understanding of the ground’s geological origins, its response to a myriad of laboratory and field tests, and a greater armoury of classic and numerical modelling tools to describe its behaviour. The course has equipped me to produce safer and more efficient geotechnical engineering solutions.”
Following the course, Joe has returned to working for Mott MacDonald as a Geotechnical Design Lead on the Boston Barrier project; a £100m scheme to design and build a tidal barrier that will better protect more than 14,300 properties from flooding.