UoA 27: Civil Engineering

The department has undergone profound and positive changes since the 2001 RAE. The most visible changes are: (1) the forming in 2007 of a new department: ‘Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering’ combining: ‘Civil and Environmental Engineering’ (CEE was graded 5A in 2001) and ‘Geomatic Engineering’ (GE was graded 4 in 2001); and (2) the recruitment of a cohort of new blood lecturers. 11 of the 36 academics in the department entered the academic profession since August 2003. The department now has an excellent mix of experience and energy to build a sustainable academic community: the data presented shows this combination ramping up effectively as newer staff gain confidence (see tables 3 and 4, on pages 10 and 13). During the assessment period the combined department has produced 275 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and attracted circa £13,970,000 in research funding, including two EPSRC platform grants, one Challenging Engineering grant and one NERC Centre of Excellence. The department has built up national and international collaborations with leading laboratories and institutes including NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Centre, Transport for London, MIT and Berkeley. There has been significant investment in new laboratories and facilities, and in upgrading existing infrastructure.

We have responded decisively to the 2001 assessment challenges by:

  1. Formation of a new department, reflecting a bolder and more timely vision of the research area

  2. Developing a research strategy wherein explicit norms for research activity are provided

  3. 19 new staff appointments (17 lecturers, 1 Senior Lecturer, 1 Professor)

  4. Reorganisation of departmental finances, making strategic support for research initiatives easier

  5. Redefinition of academic staff activity in the light of the UCL strategy (adopted 2007) with associated reassessment of workload allocation, freeing up academic time and generating opportunities for academics to undertake research and knowledge transfer activities

  6. Reorganisation of departmental structure, fostering and reflecting changing needs in the world – enabling and promoting interdisciplinary partnerships

  7. Expansion of international research collaboration and an active programme of securing substantial research funding

The impact of these changes shows clearly in steady growth of research income – more than doubling in the assessment period and in numbers of registered PhD students. That the department is outward-looking and strongly engaged with society is mirrored in the scope and scale of knowledge transfer and industrial collaboration. The vitality and potential of the department is illustrated by the breadth and significance of projects, as well as by the distribution and level of esteem factors.

Entering the third millennium we see great challenges ahead for humanity in developing sustainable environments, conserving and generating energy, adapting to climate change, and mitigating against earthquake cycle impacts. To meet these challenges we aim to capitalise on both the art and technology of engineering: understanding, developing and applying science to the practical progress of humankind in securing an enhanced quality of life for all. The driving idea behind our mission: to provide both the research and the people capable of delivering it to generate and support an enhanced and sustainable quality of life for all people around the world. More than just an aspiration, this is realised by seeing engineering – in scientific, physical and human contexts – as the means of applying knowledge and imagination in ways that can be achieved in practice. This requires an interdisciplinary research environment where core engineering and sciences support a wide range of activity.

Research activity falls into three groups: Transport; Environmental, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering; and Geomatics:


The Centre for Transport Studies has a long-standing international reputation for transport research: transport safety; analysis and modelling of traffic flow; public transport; traffic management/control; integrated modelling of transport and land use; transport planning models; road traffic assignment; transport economics; policy/implementation issues; sustainable development and accessibility for people with restricted mobility.

Environmental, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering

The Environmental, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering group covers the range of research activity from interactions with the natural environment in soils, water, air (including cataclysmic events – earthquakes, tsunamis) to detailed structures of built environments and ways in which constructed environments interact with people and society at large.


The Geomatics group is involved in the science, engineering and modelling of measurements and data relating to Earth and its environment – ranging from space-based measurements of the Earth (and other planets) using radio waves, down to micron level observations using lasers and optical techniques.

Download full text of the RA5a statement for Civil Engineering (pdf 164Kb)

Staff names below link to submitted publications:

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Page last modified on 17 jan 08 13:38