Knappett, Jonathan


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Personal profile


Jonathan joined the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in 2006, following MEng and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge, and was promoted to Professor of Civil Engineering in 2018.  His expertise includes centrifuge and 1-g physical modelling, Finite Element simulation and analytical modelling, with research interests in three areas associated with innovative design against extreme dynamic environmental actions:

   (i) Earthquake Engineering

   (ii) Biomediated Geotechnical Engineering (e.g. use of vegetation in Civil Engineering)

   (iii) Offshore Geotechnics, primarily anchoring systems for marine renewable energy

This research has been supported by funding from the UK Research Councils, the European Commission, and various overseas, charitable and industrial organisations to a total value of over £4.5M. He was awarded the British Geotechnical Association Medal in 2009, the TK Hsieh Award for Civil Engineering Dynamics from the ICE/IStructE in 2010 and the ISSMGE TC203 Young Researcher Award in Earthquake Engineering in 2018. In 2017 he gave the 13th Géotechnique Lecture on the use of vegetation in low carbon geotechnical engineering.

He was Chairman of the Editorial Panel of the International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (2014-2018) and has previously served on the Géotechnique Advisory Panel (2011-2013). He is an instructor on the Standard and Advanced courses in Computational Modelling in Geotechnics run annually in the UK by PLAXIS BV and is a UK National Representative on both Technical Committees TC104 (Physical Modelling) and TC203 (Earthquake Engineering) of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE).

He is also the principal author of Craig's Soil Mechanics, 8th and 9th Editions and co-author of Design of Piles in Liquefiable Soils.

Jonathan is currently Discipline Lead for Civil Engineering, having previously developed and led the University's MSc in Geotechnical Engineering for 6 years

Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 2007

Master of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 2003


  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineeing
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Centrifuge modelling
  • Numerical modelling
  • Soil-structure interaction


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