Byron Byrne

Ørsted / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Advanced Geotechnical Design, Professor of Engineering Science, Fellow of St Catherine’s College

Contact or other contact details can be found here.

Research Interests

My research is mostly concerned with offshore engineering problems, focussing on experimental and theoretical research into soil-structure interaction problems. There are three current themes to this research:

a) Foundations for offshore structures: I am researching both shallow and deep foundations for offshore structures, and recently this work has been applied to offshore renewable energy problems, such as offshore wind. I am exploring problems relating to general foundation design (including foundation loading), design of suction caissons (both installation and under a range of applied loading), behaviour of rigid piles under monotonic and cyclic loading, instrumentation and monitoring of installed foundations and more recently the development of novel ideas for offshore foundations (such as screw piles or drilled and grouted anchors).

    • In 2011 I gave the Géotechnique Lecture at the Institution of Civil Engineers on “Foundation design for offshore wind turbines”, summarising the work carried out at Oxford. A copy of the slides can be found here.
    • In 2013 I was awarded a contract as PI, following a competitive tender process, to lead the academic contributions to the PISA (PIle Soil Analysis) JIP led by DONG Energy and involving the Carbon Trust, Alstom, EDF, RWE, SSE, Scottish Power, Statkraft, Statoil, Vattenfall and van Ord. A team from Oxford, Imperial College London and University College Dublin have developed new design methods for laterally loaded large diameter monopiles for offshore wind turbines. The final reports were submitted in early-to-mid 2016 to the industrial funding partners. The PISA Project won the BGA's Fleming Awrard in 2017. A second phase of work, exploring pile response in layered soils, ran from February 2017 to February 2018.
    • In 2014 we were awarded a contract by EPSRC, in collaboration with Cranfield University, to develop a Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Marine Structures. The final intake of students are being recruited for a start in October 2018. Further information can be found at the Centre's website:
    • In 2018 we signed a 5 year research framework agreement with Ørsted, the renewable energy company, to focus on the development of new design guidelines for offshore wind turbine foundations. Ørsted and the Royal Academy of Engineering are supporting my Research Chair in Advanced Geotechnical Design.
    • In 2019 I won a University "Commercial Impact" Award for my work on new design methods for the foundations of offshore wind turbines.

b) General loading of shallow foundations: I carry out research looking at the wider problem of the response of shallow foundations under general loading, including experimental research and interpretation as well as theoretical development of models of response. I have designed unique loading equipment to explore this problem (such as the six degree of freedom loading rig in Oxford).

c) Offshore pipeline design: My work in this area explores pipeline installation, axial friction response, upheaval buckling, lateral buckling, soil liquefaction, thermal response of pipelines in clay, pipeline flotation and steel catenary riser behaviour at the touchdown zone. In this area we have a long running collaboration with Technip UK Ltd. Previous work has been funded by EPSRC and the SAFEBUCK JIP whilst more recent work on axial pipe response has been funded by KW Subsea/Petrofac.

Recently I have been developing a theme of work on instrumentation and monitoring for onshore infrastructure construction in collaboration with Ward and Burke Construction. This is focused on using real-time feedback of live construction data to inform construction processes, and the analysis of monitored data to improved design.

A list of publications can be found at my publications page (publications). I am currently a member of the Applied Ocean Research Editorial Board and have been a member of both the Géotechnique and the Géotechnique Letters Advisory Panels. My research has been sponsored by the EPSRC, the DTI, the Royal Society of London and a variety of industrial sponsors. The Australian Research Council has also sponsored a research exchange program with the University of Western Australia. Further details about our group’s work can be found at the Geotechnical Engineering page and the Offshore Geotechnics pages.


I am available for a range of consultancy work in civil, geotechnical and offshore engineering through Oxford University Consulting. Previous work has included desk studies through to managing, performing and interpreting complex laboratory, model and field testing programs. Please feel free to contact me at the above email address for further details. Recent clients have included Arup, Atkins, Cathie Associates, DONG Energy, KW Subsea, Repsol Nuevas Energias UK, Statoil and Technip Offshore UK Ltd.