Geotechnical Research Group

The group engages in research covering the whole spectrum of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. Research topics include geotechnical design, excavations and tunnelling, environmental geotechnics and the analysis of peat and other soft ground including glacial tills.

Dr. David Igoe

Assistant Professor, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

+353 1896 3805

Research Expertise

My research interests are mainly focused on Geotechnical and Offshore Engineering where I lead the offshore geotechnics research group which is focused on solving the technical challenges in offshore wind energy (aligning with UN Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 13). I am actively involved in driving innovation within the geotechnical engineering community through advancements in fundamental understanding of soil behaviour, numerical modelling and experimental testing. My research has had a significant impact on the offshore wind industry, helping to reduce the costs and increase economic viability. I was a key contributor to the UK Carbon Trust Pile Soil Analysis (PISA) project, which developed new design methods for offshore wind foundations. The PISA design model is now the de-facto design approach used by engineers designing offshore wind foundations worldwide. This new approach is estimated to save ~30% of steel weight compared to the previous industry standard approach. The PISA project won the prestigious BGA Fleming Award and was recognised by the Carbon Trust as one of the 10 most high impact projects undertaken in the last 10 years by the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) program (which estimates its projects have resulted in £34 Billion cost savings for the offshore wind industry by 2030). I am currently collaborating with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Southampton, Western Australia, Imperial College London, TU Delft. Geotechnical Engineering is historically poorly funded. Prior to my joining TCD, there had been no large grants (>€150k) won in this area in the previous 10 years. By harnessing my expertise in offshore geotechnics and targeting research funding supporting the Renewable Energy transition, I have managed to bring in significant research funding of €1.14 million to TCD in the past 3 years (with total consortium funding >€3 million), funded by SFI, SEAI, IRC and Geological Survey Ireland. In 2021 I joined the SFI ICRAG research centre as a funded Investigator where I was recently awarded funding of €170k. The program for government (2020) has targeted 5GW of offshore wind to be developed by 2030 which will require an investment of ~10 Billion. I have made this area one of the hot topics within the department and I will continue to grow my research group to position Trinity as Irelands leading University supporting Offshore Wind Geotechnics.

Dr. Brendan O'Kelly

Associate Professor, Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

+353 1896 2387


Brendan O'Kelly earned bachelor's, masters and Doctoral degrees in civil and geotechnical engineering in 1992, 1994 and 2000 from University College Dublin, where he held the posts of Pierce-Newman Fellow in Civil Engineering, Research Fellow in Soil Mechanics and Assistant Lecturer in Civil Engineering for successive two-year periods (1994-2000). He earned his PhD on the topic of 'Development of a new apparatus for hollow cylinder testing under generalised stress conditions'. He then worked as a geotechnical engineer with Scott Wilson Consulting Engineers, UK (serving geotechnical design and resident engineer secondments), before joining the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, as Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering late 2001. He was made a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin (2010). In 2012, during sabbatical, he served as Experienced Researcher on Marie Curie IAPP project (Nonstationary response of spatially extended structures) based in Plaxis BV, The Netherlands. He is an Associate Editor for the journals Environmental Geotechnics (ICE, UK) and Geotechnics (MDPI) and a Council Member of The International Society of Environmental Geotechnology. His main research interests are soil consistency limits, ground improvement, geotechnics of water- and wastewater-treatment sludges and the geomechanical behavior/properties of peat and other highly organic soils, on which he has published more than 100 refereed journal papers.