Researchers from the University of Newcastle will lead a new multi-million dollar Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence to pioneer new scientific approaches to geotechnical engineering design.
With Australian Government funding of $14.4 million, the Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering will focus on creating science-based tools for predicting the safety of offshore and onshore geostructures, including oil and gas platforms, roads, railways, tunnels, dams and port facilities.
The University of Newcastle's Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Professor John Carter, said energy and transport infrastructure were central concerns of governments worldwide and of critical importance to Australia's future prosperity.
"With a forecast investment of $250 billion in Australia's energy and transport infrastructure over the next five years, there is an unprecedented need for contemporary approaches to designing and building that are cost effective but also safe," Professor Carter said.
The Centre of Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering will combine some of the world's leading geotechnical research groups - the Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling at the University of Newcastle, the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia and the Geotechnics and Railway Engineering Centre at the University of Wollongong.
The new centre will:
- provide a national focus for geotechnical research by combining Australia's key geotechnical research groups
- optimise the design of critical infrastructure using cutting-edge technologies
- make the engineering of Australia's infrastructure safer and more cost efficient
- interface with offshore and onshore industry
- educate and train the next generation of geotechnical engineers and researchers.
The centre will be led by the University of Newcastle's Laureate Professor Scott Sloan, collaborating with chief investigators from the Universities of Newcastle, Western Australia and Wollongong, as well as two partner investigators from Coffey Geotechnics and the Colorado School of Mines, USA.