William Powrie to chair AEngD steering committee

(22 February 2016) - Professor William Powrie of the University of Southampton has been appointed the new chair of the steering committee of the Association of Engineering Doctorates (AEngD).

William_Picture.jpgPowrie is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton. His main areas of technical expertise are in geotechnical aspects of transport infrastructure, and sustainable waste and resource management.  He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his work in these areas in 2009.

In 2007, following a review of the EPSRC Engineering Doctorate Centres, Professor Powrie was one of three 'Industrial Doctorate Advocates' appointed to spread best practice in the management, operation and development of EngD centres and to act as champions for the EngD scheme. He, Chris France of the University of Surrey and Patrick Godfrey of the University of Bristol helped launch the AEngD in 2010, and Powrie succeeds Godfrey as chair of the steering group.

Professor Powrie says:

I am honoured to have been invited to take over as Chair of the AEngD steering committee. I am very grateful to Patrick, who has taken the AEngD ably through a difficult period and will be a hard act to follow.
I am very aware that the impacts of the 2013 EPSRC competition for Doctoral Training Centres have begun to be felt. Now is the time to discuss the place and purpose of the EngD – and of the AEngD – in academia and industry, and I am looking forward to our first meeting of the steering committee in London on 5 May.


For further information:
Paul Wilkinson – email, tel 020 8858 1104 or 07788 445920.

Editor’s notes

Professor William Powrie’s work on geotechnical aspects of transport infrastructure encompasses groundwater control, in-ground construction to reduce environmental impacts in urban and other sensitive areas, understanding and mitigating vegetation and climate change effects, and fundamental soil behaviour.

Major projects on which he has worked include the A55 Conwy Crossing, the Jubilee Line extension stations at Canary Wharf and Canada Water and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1). He is co-author of Construction Industry Research and Information (CIRIA) reports C515 Groundwater control – design and practice (2000) and C580 Embedded retaining walls – guidance for economic design (2003). Both of these, together with report C517 Temporary propping of deep excavations – guidance on design (1999), incorporate results of his research in these areas.

He was Principal Investigator for Rail Research UK (2003-2010), a Universities-based centre for Rail Systems Research, and now leads a prestigious EPSRC Programme Grant aiming to provide the science needed to underpin a radical overhaul in techniques for railway track design, construction and maintenance. He also leads the University's Strategic Research Partnership with Network Rail in Future Infrastructure Systems.

He is a former Associate Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, a former Honorary Editor of the Institution of Civil Engineers journal Geotechnical Engineering, and has been geotechnical consultant to WJ Groundwater Ltd since 1987.

William’s work in waste and resource management focuses on landfill engineering, and on the development of a sound scientific basis for policy and practice. He led a major EPSRC-funded programme of fundamental research, Science and Strategies for the Management of Residual Wastes, with the aim of enabling and encouraging landfill operation so as to accelerate biodegradation and stabilization of the waste.

He was a co-author of the Institute of Wastes Management report on The role and operation of the flushing bioreactor.

He worked on the design and engineering risk assessment of the low level radioactive waste repositories at Drigg; and was founding Honorary Editor of the ICE journal Waste and Resource Management; a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Waste Working Group; and chair of the Technologies Advisory Committee for Defra’s £30m programme of research and demonstrator projects for new technologies for the treatment of biodegradable waste. He is the author of the widely respected and best-selling textbook, Soil mechanics – concepts and applications.