Knappett, Jonathan


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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 modelling (FEM) and analytical modelling, with research interests in four areas associated with innovative design against extreme dynamic environmental actions:

  • Earthquake Engineering (particularly around urban infrastructure);
  • Nature-based & other low-carbon approaches in Civil Engineering (particularly in adapting to Climate Change);
  • Geotechnical Engineering for energy decarbonisation (offshore renewables and ground source heat)

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 £8.2M (£5.5M value to Dundee). He was awarded the British Geotechnical Association Medal in 2009, the TK Hsieh Award for Civil Engineering Dynamics from the ICE/IStructE in 2010, the ISSMGE TC203 Young Researcher Award in Earthquake Engineering in 2018 and the ICE Geotechnical Research Medal in 2023. 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 a current 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).

Jonathan is the principal author of the internationally best-selling textbooks Craig's Soil Mechanics, 8th and 9th Editions and co-author of Design of Piles in Liquefiable Soils.  He has been an instructor on the Standard and Advanced CPD courses in Computational Modelling in Geotechnics run annually in the UK by PLAXIS BV (2016-2018) and conducts industrial consultancy on the use of FEM in practice. 

Jonathan was Discipline Lead for Civil Engineering (2016-2021), having previously co-developed and led the University's MSc in Geotechnical Engineering for 6 years (2010-2016).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

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
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Piled foundations in liquefiable soils: accounting for axial loads, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 2007

Master of Engineering, Research Project: Dynamic bearing capacity, 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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