Professor Michael Brown

Professor (Teaching and Research)

Civil Engineering, School of Science and Engineering

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+44 (0)1382 384354


Mike joined the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in 2005, following his PhD research and Research Associate positions at the University of Sheffield. Prior to returning to academia, he worked in industry for four years in railway and underground structures as a main contractor and as a tunnelling consultant. He is currently the Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in Civil Engineering as well as the research cluster lead for Future Infrastructure and the Environment in the School of Science and Engineering.

His expertise includes 1-g physical and centrifuge modelling of soil-structure interaction problems, field and case study investigations and specialist element testing and the application of specialist numerical modelling techniques to challenging industrial problems.  His current research interests fall into four main areas:

  • Offshore Geotechnical Engineering and renewable energy infrastructure installation
  • Foundations and anchoring for offshore renewable energy applications
  • Reducing the embodied energy and CO2 associated with foundation engineering
  • Geohazard engineering in a changing climate

This research has been supported by funding from the UK Research Councils, the European Commission, and industrial organisations to a total value of over £6.2M.

He is a UK representative on the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) Technical Committee TC212: Deep Foundations. He is a full member of the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) Offshore Site Investigation Group (OSIG) and a member of the EPSRC Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub Research Alignment Group. He is the recent past Convenor of CEN/TC 341/WG 7: Non-static tests on piles which resulted in the publication of two ISO/EN standards on pile testing. He recently served on the Géotechnique journal Advisory Panel and was an international member of the JGS Soils and Foundations Journal.  He is former Chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scottish Geotechnical Group (2011-2014) and the Proceedings of the ICE: Geotechnical Engineering Journal (2011-2014).

He was an editor and author of the Institution of Civil Engineers Manual of Geotechnical Engineering.

Academic background

2004 PhD Geotechnical Engineering, University of Sheffield
Thesis title: The Rapid Load Testing of Piles in Fine Grained Soils.

1995    BEng (Hons) Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Bradford


2020- Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Dundee

2016-2020 Reader in Civil Engineering, University of Dundee

2011-2016 Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, University of Dundee

2005-2011 Lecturer in Civil Engineering, University of Dundee

1999-2005 Research Associate, University of Sheffield

1996-1999 Design Engineer, Donaldson Associates Limited

1995-1996 Site Engineer, Mowlem Civil Engineering

1993-1994 Fugro (McClelland) Engineers BV and Pte

Professional memberships

  • Institution of Civil Engineers (Graduate Member)
  • British Geotechnical Association (Member)
  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE; Member)

Professional roles

  • EPSRC Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub Research Alignment Group
  • ISSMGE – National Representative, Technical Committee TC212 (Deep Foundations)
  • International Press in Association (IPA): IPA-TC4 International Technical Committee Member, Japan
  • BSi B/526/03 Site Investigation & Ground Testing Committee Member
  • EPSRC Supergen Wind Energy Hub: Management Committee Member (2016-2020)
  • CEN/TC 341/WG 7: Non-static tests on piles – Convenor of technical Committee (2014-2021)
  • Editorial Board, Géotechnique (2016-2020)
  • Chairman of the Editorial Board, Proceedings of the ICE: Geotechnical Engineering Journal (2011-2014)
  • Chairman of the ICE Scottish Geotechnical Group (ICE SGG) (2011-2014)
  • British Geotechnical Association, Committee Member (2008-2011)


Offshore Geotechnical Engineering:

Mike’s research in this area has in the main been undertaken directly for industry or with strong industrial collaboration looking at improving the understanding of the processes of involved with pipeline and cable burial as well as novel offshore foundation and anchoring systems.  Particular topic areas include:

  • Improved prediction models for pipeline and cable plough performance
  • Pipeline and cable installation subject to geohazards and difficult ground conditions
  • Design of novel high-performance foundation systems for V-H loading

Key projects:

  • Offshore Cable Burial: How deep is deep enough? EPSRC Research Grant EP/W000970/1
  • Seabed ploughing: modelling for infrastructure installation. EPSRC Research Grant EP/M000362/1.
  • ISGCUBIP: Investigation of the critical SG for cables and umbilicals during various backfilling and installation processes. Energy Technology Partnership (ETP)/Subsea 7 funded project.

Foundations and anchoring for offshore renewable energy (ORE) applications

Research here is focussed on the development of novel foundation and anchoring systems for marine renewable energy and aquaculture that can lower the cost of renewables, reduce embodied CO2, protect marine wildlife and allow exploitation of more challenging development locations.  This includes:

  • Development of novel foundation and anchor concepts with low environmental impact and carbon footprint (e.g. screw anchors)
  • The role of anchoring in the holistic design of marine renewable energy systems (e.g. future floating wind)
  • Development of numerical and analytical tools for simulating challenging foundation and anchor performance

Key projects:

  • SAFS – Development of Screw Anchors for Floating marine renewable energy System arrays incorporating anchor sharing.  EU H2020 Marie SkŁodowska-Curie Actions: Individual Fellowships H2020-MSCA-IF-2016, Grant no. 753156.
  • EPSRC Supergen Windhub: Grand Challenge project: Screw piles for wind energy foundation systems. EPSRC Research Grant EP/N006054/1.
  • Scottish Marine Renewables Test Centre for Materials & Foundations (SMART) ERD Programme 2007-2013 (Priority 1) (LUPS/ERDF/2013/10/1/0075).
  • GeoWAVE: Geotechnical and mooring design solutions for the offshore renewable wave energy industry.  EU FP7, Grant no. 287056: Research for the benefit of SME’s.

Low Impact Geotechnical Engineering and Geohazards in a Changing Climate

New research is focusing on lower impact, reduced embodied energy and minimising CO2 creation in geotechnical applications. Aligning with this theme attention is also placed on climate induced or aggravated geohazard events and impacts. This includes:

  • Reduction of embodied CO2 in OLE foundation systems and infrastructure
  • Understanding climate change induced geohazards (e.g. debris flows and landslides)

Key projects:

  • Developing novel concreteless foundations for OLE, Energy Technology Partnership (ETP)/Scottish and Southern Energy Network funded project.
  • Investigating new design and construction enhancements to reduce the carbon footprint of new and refurbished OLE foundations, funded by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks.
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