Centre for Energy & Infrastructure Ground Research

We deliver leading research in the field of geotechnical engineering research, focusing on themes of Energy and Infrastructure provision to engineer a more sustainable future.


The Centre incorporates a multi-noded research network, with academics at eight universities and multiple industrial partners working together in our quest to improve the world around us.

The Centre is supported by the Engineering Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is led by Dr Jonathan A. Black, Centre Director.

About the Centre

CEIGR - 4m diameter 50g-ton geotechnical beam centrifuge facility

At the heart of our centre is a 50g-tonne 4m diameter beam centrifuge facility, manufactured by Thomas Broadbent & Sons Ltd., which represents the pinnacle of physical modelling research capabilities.

The accelerated gravitational field produced by this test facility offers unique capabilities of simulating full-scale field stresses conditions in small-scale model experiments.

This unique ability enables us to deliver high quality experimental research that provides enhanced understanding of soil-structure interaction behaviour, leading to better geotechnical design and the development of innovative engineering solutions.

Our research themes

The principal aim of our centre is to deliver world-leading transformation ground engineering research, in three main themes:

Energy Geotechnics

Geotechnical Engineering has a vital role to play in delivering our future energy provision through the deployment of innovate foundations to support the next generation of offshore energy capture technologies (wind, wave, tidal), geothermal energy foundations and carbon capture all of which are needed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and secure a low carbon future. This theme comprises:

  • Development of novel foundation solutions for offshore wind, wave and tidal renewable energy capture devices, their installation and life cycle performance with consideration of mitigation strategies
  • Geothermal energy foundations (pile foundation heat exchangers) to deliver more sustainable buildings, evaluate soil-structure interaction behaviour and optimisation of thermal-mechanical heat interactions
  • Carbon capture and storage.
Infrastructure Resilience to Environmental Change

Infrastructure underpins our daily lives and our economy; however, recent extreme climate conditions have demonstrated its fragility. In the next 50 years we will experience higher temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and more frequent extreme weather events thus the case for enhancing infrastructure resilience to climate change is ever more compelling. This theme comprises:

  • Evaluating the impact of seasonal rainfall and extreme events on infrastructure to prevent catastrophic failure
  • Supporting the development of informed management, mitigation strategies and investment policies to deliver enhance resilient infrastructure. Improving the design of critical infrastructure to cope with future climatic events
  • Natural hazards.
Manufacturing the Future of Ground Engineering Works

We are conducting research on the emerging theme of ‘Manufacturing the Future’ in collaboration with researchers at the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) and Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMRC) at Sheffield, to investigate transformative opportunities for advanced manufacturing processes to impact on the construction industry. This theme comprises:

  • Assessing the potential for advanced composites and recycled materials as alternative lower embodied energy construction materials through prototype evaluation validation.

The wider objectives of the Centre are to:

  • Promote the use of centrifuge modelling as a viable research investigative method and develop new techniques to share will other international centres
  • Inform design and construction practice by impacting on industry standards/guidelines
  • Promote the training and development of talented young researchers who will become the next generation of future engineers and research leaders
  • Disseminate the results of the research to both academic and industry stakeholders
  • Inform the public and next generation of young people through our our reach activities about the need for energy and infrastructure.

Our people

Academic staff:

Technical staff:

Our partners

We work with academics in other institutions and operate the centrifuge as a shared resource, establishing a hub of expertise to deliver interdisciplinary research while maximising the benefits of our facility within the academic community.

  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Durham University 
  • Newcastle University
  • The University of Manchester
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Salford
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Bolton

Our sponsors

Several sponsors have contributed to establishing the CEIGR and its facilities.

Establishment of the 4m diameter Geotechnical Beam Centrifuge was funding from the University of Sheffield, Department of Civil & Structural Engineering with support from the centrifuge manufacturer, Thomas Broadbent & Son Ltd.

Our centre continues to receive ongoing support and collaboration with Broadbent, which is gratefully acknowledged.

Funding secured through the Engineering Physical Science Research Council EPSRC (Grant No. EP/K040316/1) realised the vision to establish the Centre for Energy & Infrastructure Ground Research and support a number of scientific experimental facilities within the centre.

The 1m diameter teaching beam centrifuge was developed as part of a Royal Academic of Engineering, National Higher Educational STEM Programme award in 2012.

Contact us

We are located in the Sir Frederick Mappin Building, Mining Block (Room 1802). You can find us using this campus map.


Centre for Energy & Infrastructure Ground Research 
The University of Sheffield
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD
United Kingdom

Email: ceigr@sheffield.ac.uk


  • +44 114 222 5052 - Centre office & general enquiries
  • +44 114 222 5110 - Dr Jonathan Black, Director

Fax: +44 114 222 5700

Our league table rankings

Top 100 in the world and 8th in the UK according to the QS World University rankings by subject (2021).

11th in the UK according to the Times University League Table (2021).

8th in the UK according to the Complete University Guide (2021).

A world top-100 university

We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.