Skip to content Skip to navigation


The ACHILLES programme comprises a unique consortium of established and future-leading academics in the fields of civil and geotechnic engineering. Their expertise span embankments and cuttings, soil mechanics, and the impact of climate and climate change.

Additionally, the team includes academics working in statistics to transfer knowledge from our team’s cutting-edge geotechnical research into pragmatic modelling tools for real-life applications, and academics specialising in economics to develop tools to support decision-making.

ACHILLES’ interdisciplinary approach is vital for addressing the complexity of the challenges facing our infrastructure, and for developing pragmatic outputs to support practitioners and asset managers.

Team Members frequently present ACHILLES research at both academic and industry-led events. You can follow our activities on our LinkedIn page.

Our History

The ACHILLES team has a long history of working together and we know each other very well. We are quite spread out with locations, from north to south, in Newcastle, Durham, Leeds, Keyworth, Loughborough, Bath and Southampton. As a consequence we have developed effective approaches to meeting up through the web, but our regular team meetings are great events, both scientifically and socially.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the team adapted quickly to working and meeting online. Fortunately, after restrictions were lifted, the team was able to meet again in-person.

Team Members

The people working on the ACHILLES Programme Grant are listed below, including a rough indication of the research topics they are addressing.

Newcastle University

Prof Stephanie Glendinning – ACHILLES PI
Prof Chris Kilsby – climate change context
Prof Stefano Utili – soil modelling
Dr Peter Helm – asset deterioration modelling – Theme Lead (SaM)
Dr Ross Stirling – soil cracking and lysimeters Theme Lead (PaD)
Dr Mo Rouainia – development of constitutive model
Dr Alex Svalova – statistical emulator development – Theme Lead (DaD)
Dr Jessica Holmes – soil cracking and lysimeters
Dr Abdallah Najdi – constitutive modelling
Jordan Oakley – statistical modelling
Rose Bunker – Project Manager

Loughborough University

Prof Neil Dixon – Research Challenge 2 lead (retired)
Dr Tom Dijkstra – Academic Programme Manager
Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi – constitutive models, asset deterioration modelling – Theme Lead (SaM)
Dr Alister Smith – soil acoustics and deterioration monitoring – Theme Lead (SaM)
Dr Mohamed El-Taher – numerical modelling

Durham University

Prof David Toll – Research Challenge 1 lead
Prof Darren Wilkinson – Research Challenge 3 lead
Dr Paul Hughes – geotechnical testing – Theme Lead (MaM)
Dr Ana Sofia Dias – geotechnical testing

University of Southampton

Prof William Powrie – Advisor to PI
Prof John Preston – economic modelling and WLC assessments
Dr Joel Smethurst – engineered asset monitoring and deterioration
Dr Anthony Blake – engineered asset; field-scale testing – Theme Lead (MaM)
Dr John Armstrong – economic modelling and WLC assessments

University of Bath

Dr Kevin Briggs – Theme Lead (PaD)

University of Leeds

Dr Fleur Loveridge – engineered asset management – Theme Lead (DaD)
Dr Iain Johnston – slope stability; uncertainty and heterogeneity

British Geological Survey

Dr Jon Chambers – geophysics and asset condition assessment
Adrian White – geophysics and asset condition assessment
James Boyd – engineering geophysics

Other ACHILLES Associates

Dr Katherine Dobson – University of Strathclyde
Dr Wengui Huang – slope stability; uncertainty and heterogeneity – Teesside University
Dr Dennis Prangle – statistical modelling – University of Bristol
Dr Richard Court – Programme manager – Newcastle University
Dr Arnaud Watlet – geophysics and asset condition assessment – British Geological Survey
Mr Jim Whiteley – geophysics and asset condition assessment – British Geological Survey
Dr Amr Morsy – asset deterioration modelling – California State University
Dr Zelong Yu – BIONICS – Liverpool John Moores University
Dr Yuderka Trinidad-Gonzalez – geotechnical engineering – Iowa State University
Dr Harry Postill – Previously a Research Associate at Loughborough University
Dr David Gunn – British Geological Survey
Dr Letisha (Rorke) Blackmore – formerly University of Bath
Dr Anil Yildiz – RWTH Aachen University
Jonathan Asquith – Durham University
Andrew Hudson – University of Southampton