Professor René de Borst

René de Borst

The Centenary Professor of Civil Engineering

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5796
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5700


Ir [MSc], Delft University of Technology (1982)
Dr, Delft University of Technology (1986)
CEng, Institution of Civil Engineers (2012)


René de Borst received an Ir. degree in civil engineering from Delft University of Technology (cum laude). He started his career at TNO, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, completing his doctoral thesis in the evening hours and weekends three-and-a-half years later (also cum laude).

In 1988 he was appointed Professor of Computational Mechanics at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Delft University of Technology – the youngest professor in Delft at the moment of appointment – and since 1999 he was the inaugural holder of the Chair of Engineering Mechanics at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the same university. In 2000 he was one of the first two professors in Delft to be made Distinguished Professor. In 2007 he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Distinguished Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. From 2012 until his current position in Sheffield he has held the Regius Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow. Next to his regular positions he has held visiting professorships in Albuquerque, Cachan, Metz, Lyon, Lublin, Milan, Barcelona, and Tokyo. Recently, he has been the inaugural holder of the John Argyris Visiting Chair in Stuttgart and has been MTS Visiting Professor of Geomechanics in Minneapolis.

He has worked on several topics in engineering mechanics and engineering materials, such as the mechanical properties of concrete, soils, composites and rubbers, in particular the development of mathematical and numerical l models for deformation and failure. His most significant work is on fracture, computational mechanics, frictional materials, and is of relevance in civil engineering, structural engineering, and aerospace engineering.

He is the author of a book, has edited thirteen books and conference proceedings, and written over 200 journal papers and 30 book chapters. His work has been cited more than 7,000 times according to the ISI database (h-index 48), and nearly 20,000 times according to Google Scholar (h-index 67). He has supervised over fifty PhD students and two dozen post-docs, and twelve of his former students have become full professor, a fact he is very proud of.

Activities and Distinctions

Prizes & Honours (selection)

  • 1990: Senior Research Fellow of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
  • 1995: The Composite Structures Award
  • 1996: Max Planck Forschungspreis given by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. and the Alexander von Humboldtstiftung
  • 1998: Computational Mechanics Award given by the International Association for Computational Mechanics.
  • 1999: Spinoza Prize awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.
  • 2011: Officier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite [France]
  • 2012: Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
  • 2015: JSCES Grand Prize (Japanese Society for Computational Engineering Science)
  • 2015: Doctor Honoris Causa of the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon

Fellow/memberships of Academies

  • 1994: Member, Batavian Society for Experimental Philosophy, Rotterdam
  • 2005: Member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam
  • 2013: Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
  • 2014: Member, European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Salzburg
  • 2015: Fellow, Royal Academy of Engineering, London

Fellowships of Professional Organisations

  • 2002: Fellow, International Association for Computational Mechanics
  • 2010: Fellow, International Association for Fracture Mechanics of Concrete and Concrete Structures
  • 2012: Fellow, the Institution of Civil Engineers


  • Editor-in-Chief of "International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering"
  • Editor "International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics"
  • Editor-in-Chief "Encyclopedia of Computational Mechanics"
  • Associate Editor "The Aeronautical Journal" (Royal Aeronautical Society)
  • Series Editor “Wiley Series in Computational Mechanics”


  • Since 2013: Dassault Aviation, Paris.
  • Since 2015: Dutch Safety Board


  • 2016 – 2020: “A High-Fidelity Isogeometric Simulation Methodology for Fracture in Porous Media” funded by European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant). Investigator: R. de Borst. Value: € 2,239,520.
  • 2014 – 2015: “Cell Mechanobiology” funded by Royal Society. Investigator: R. de Borst. Value: £ 9,450.
  • 2012 – 2015: “A High-Fidelity Simulation Methodology for Evolving Structures and Processes” funded by the Royal Society / Wolfson Foundation. Investigator: R. de Borst. Value: £ 94,000.
  • 2009 – 2014: “More Affordable Aircraft Through Integrated, Extended and Mature Numerical Sizing” funded by EU 7th Framework Programme. Investigators: R. de Borst, J.J.C. Remmers. Value: : € 300,000.
  • 2009 – 2012: “Adaptive Multiscale Methods for Airbag-Deployment-Safety Simulations” funded by Technology Foundation STW. Investigators: E.H. van Brummelen, R. de Borst. Value: € 240,000.
  • 2009 – 2012 ”Multiscale Computational Poromechanics” funded by Technology Foundation STW. Investigators: R. de Borst, J.M.R. Huyghe, J.J.C. Remmers. Value: € 240,000.
  • 2004 – 2008: “Multiscale Adaptive Methods for Fluid-Structure Interaction” ” funded by Technology Foundation STW. Investigators: R. de Borst, E.H. van Brummelen, S.J. Hulshoff. Value: € 460,000.
  • 2003 – 2008: “Multiscale Methods in Computational Mechanics” funded by Technology Foundation. Investigators: R. de Borst, E. Ramm, F. van Keulen, J.M.R. Huyghe, C. Miehe, W. Ehlers. Value: € 620,000.
  • 2003 – 2007: “Parametric Modelling and Meshless Discretisation Methods for Knowledge Based Engineering Applications” funded by Technology Foundation STW. Investigators: M.J.L. van Tooren, R. de Borst. Value: € 260,000.
  • 2002 – 2006: “Deformation and Fracture Instabilities in Novel Materials and Processes” funded by EU-RTN. Investigator: R. de Borst. Value: € 166,000.

Selected publications

Journal articles