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Research Group: Geotechnical and Structural Engineering

Developing sustainable and resilient urban environments.

We provide cutting-edge sustainable solutions to today’s geotechnical and structural engineering problems. We develop innovative ways to mitigate the risk of natural hazards for communities across the world.

The GEST (Geotechnical and Structural Engineering) Group is at the core of the Civil Engineering discipline. We deal with the fundamental concepts of material behaviour, construction, and design technology.

Our research reflects these core aspects. It also links with the theme of sustainability in construction and climate change effects in civil engineering

We are founding members of UKCRIC. In the North-East, we host:


Geotechnics and Structures students

Our research involves areas such as:

  • Geo-energy
    • We are looking at the development of geothermal systems to decarbonise heating and cooling. Our research includes ground source heat exchange in green infrastructure.
  • Digital manufacturing and construction
    • We are contributing to the Digital Manufacturing Hub. This Hub is a part of the Stephenson project.
  • Catastrophe modelling of infrastructure networks
    • We work in large-scale infrastructure monitoring and modelling. We undertake urban observation and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.
  • Material modelling
    • We carry out multi-scale (molecular vs continuum) multi-physics multi-phase material modelling.

Research themes

We have categorised our ground-breaking research into four interrelated themes.

Each research theme includes projects based on our capabilities in:

  • advanced numerical simulation
  • material characterisation
  • multi-scale testing

Our projects often cut across themes and research capabilities. We are proficient in each of these themes. Our emerging specialism is the synergic effect of our expertise. We find solutions to problems through high-quality input and output at all levels. Our projects often bring together leading researchers from around the world.

We have a long-term involvement in field investigations and industrial engineering projects.

Leading the way in advanced modelling, simulation and data analysis

We have an international reputation in modelling and simulation. We have built our reputation over the past several decades.

We have considerable expertise in computational mechanics and geotechnics. Our skills lie across a wide range of topics. We work in both application and analysis of problems, and in the development of numerical methods and constitutive models.

Our computerised modelling projects mainly cover the following topics:

  • multi-phase flow and coupled multi-field analysis
  • multi-scale geotechnical modelling
  • structural textiles and polymeric composites
  • structural optimisation and reliability
  • seismic engineering and extreme loadings
  • network vulnerability and lifelines

Our communication approaches and technologies allow non-specialists to engage with our research. The tools and frameworks we use help stakeholders and policymakers make better decisions.


We work in the field of plate, shell and membrane structures. Our work involves analysis and optimisation. We place special emphasis on high levels of material and geometric non-linearity. We also specialise in the development of stochastic frameworks.

This work has strong links to the development of testing technologies, and informs the numerical modelling of structural textiles and polymeric composites.

Earthquake Engineering

Our research on earthquake engineering concentrates on seismic structural analysis and soil dynamics. We use field observations of extreme events to investigate fundamental reassessments of current practice and structural performance design qualification.

Multi-phase flow

We investigate problems in multi-phase flow and coupled multi-field analysis. We have expertise in modelling problems concerned with partially saturated soils. We study the effects of climate change on slope stability.

We also undertake coupled hygro-thermal-mechanical modelling of concrete exposed to elevated temperatures. We look at nuclear applications and the effects of fire. Directly allied with this is our work on constitutive model development.


We provide effective solutions to societal challenges.

Our group works in partnership with:

  • governments and industry
  • the creative and cultural sector
  • community groups

We identify current and future challenges faced by society. We provide innovative ideas and solutions that will make a difference.

Join us

PhD Opportunities

We actively seek and recruit high quality research students. Several funded PhD studentships are available for Home and EU prospective students. The University also offers scholarships for the very best international students.

Take a look at our current PhD candidates and our staff research interests to see the opportunities available.

There are also scholarships funded by Centres for Doctoral Training and Doctoral Training Partnerships:


We work with a range of partners in Newcastle, the UK, and internationally, including:

  • multi-national corporations and SMEs
  • the public sector
  • civil society
  • professional institutions
  • voluntary organisations
  • schools and colleges
  • policymakers

This ensures our students are ready to work in the civil engineering sector, and to maximise the impact of our research.


Taught Programmes

From day one, our Civil Engineering Undergraduate Programmes give students a path to become a professional engineer addressing major global challenges.

  • Civil and Structural Engineering BEng/MEng
  • Civil and Structural Engineering with Year in Industry BEng/MEng

Our Civil Engineering Postgraduate Taught (MSc) Programmes equip students with the advanced skills and expertise to help shape the world. 

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