Research section


Research in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences is driven by societal relevance underpinned by science and engineering of the highest international quality. Our research base is diverse. Its foundation is research in the tradition of great engineers such as Galileo, Rankine and Maxwell where frontiers are pushed by seeking to apply the latest advances in fundamental science to solve problems of profound societal relevance.

We have adopted the philosophy of Earth Systems Science, Engineering and Management (ESSEM) to encompass the range of research activities pursued in the school.

ESSEM links Earth Systems Science from our science-focused research groups with Earth Systems Engineering and Management research which is the cornerstone of our engineering groups. This reflects our drive to use cutting edge science to solve problems of global importance.

Details of specific research activities can be found on our group web pages:

Our groups deliver our world-leading research. There is considerable synergy between groups and we are engaged with several university research institutes and centres (Institute for Sustainability, CESER, NewRail, marineNewcastle) and collaborations involving other schools in the University, such as the TSB North East Satellite Applications Catapult Centre of Excellence.

Our ESSEM research agenda has delivered advances in fundamental science and applied science and engineering with impacts on our understanding of climate change, energy and urban systems with relevance to policy and industrial practice.

Our research is being used to predict the risk of flooding in the face of changing weather patterns and in the development of UK and European transport policy. It has led to new methods for stabilization of engineered embankments and methods for the more sustainable use of fossil fuel resources. In addition we have developed new concepts that can be used to manage the microbial communities vital for biological treatment of wastewater and environmental pollutants, revolutionized understanding of conditions on the early Earth with implications for the rise of life and documented changes in polar ice cover with significant implications for understanding the effects of climate change.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Newcastle emerged as the second most powerful research university in the country for Civil Engineering. The influential Research Fortnight assessment of power confirms that CeG is both one of the highest quality and largest research groups in the UK, submitting 43 staff for assessment. Overall,  88% of our research was rated 4*(world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) based on an assessment of our published outputs, our benefit to industry and our wider research environment. As well as recognising the academic excellence of our research, the REF confirms our worldwide impact on industry and government, with 100% of our work based on five Impact Case Studies rated either 4* or  3*. 

The impact of the research from our Geosciences research group has been recognized as among the best of any in the country. The impact of the group's research was ranked second out of 45 submissions to the Research Excellence Framework with three quarters of our examples of impact being regarded as 4*, the highest rank possible. The school's Geoscience researchers was one of the major groupings assessed under the REF UoA7 (Earth Systems and Environmental Science) along with researchers from the Schools of Biology and Marine Science and Technology. Based on the proportion of activity awarded the highest ranking 4* the Earth Systems and Environmental Science submission was ranked fifteenth nationally. Impact is a measure of how effectively fundamental research has been translated into practical applications and knowledge that is used beyond the academic world. Our Earth Systems and Environmental Science impact has benefited the oil industry, organizations involved in managing coral reefs and fisheries. Link: