Gavin, K.G.


Ken graduated in Civil Engineering from Queens University Belfast in 1994, he obtained a PhD from Trinity College Dublin in 1998. He worked as a senior geotechnical engineer for Arup for 3 years before joining University College Dublin (UCD) in September 2001. At UCD he was Director of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Research. In 2010 he cofounded the geotechnical consultancy company GDG and has advised on interesting geotechnical problems across the globe.

Research interests

  • Offshore Foundations
  • The effect of climate change on critical infrastructure
  • Soil-Structure Interaction
  • Risk in geotechnical engineering

Ken has researched new foundation concepts and improving design codes. As an example in the PISA project (with the University of Oxford and Imperial College) large-scale field tests and numerical analyses were performed to develop a new design method for offshore foundations.
He has coordinated a number of European Union collaborative projects investigating the effect of climate change on transport infrastructure, these include the EU FP7 project SMARTRAIL and the Horizon 2020 project DESTINATION RAIL.

Educational activities

  • Soil-Structure Interaction
  • Deep Excavations
  • Design of Structures and Foundations

Key publications

  • System reliability of slopes using multimodal optimization, Cormac Reale, Jianfeng Xue and Kenneth Gavin, Geotechnique. Volume 66 Issue 5, May, 2016, pp. 413-423
  • An investigation into the effect of scour on the natural frequency of an offshore wind turbine, Prendergast, L.J., Gavin, K., Doherty, P., Ocean Engineering101 (2015), pp1–11
  • A review of bridge scour monitoring techniques. LJ Prendergast, K Gavin Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering 6 (2), 138-149, 2014.
  • Field investigation of the axial resistance of helical piles in dense sand (2014), Gavin, K, Tolooiyan, A and Doherty, P. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 51, No 11: pp 1343-1354, 10.1139/cgj-2012-0463
  • The effect of ageing on piles in sand, Kenneth Gavin, David Igoe and Lisa Kirwan, Published in a Special Edition of ICE Journal of Geotechnical Engineering on the Geotechnical challenges of renewable energy projects, Vol. 166, Issue 2. April 2013
  • Field investigation of the effect of installation method on the shaft resistance on piles in clay. K.Gavin, D.Gallagher, Paul Doherty and B.McCabe, Canadian Geotechnical Journal. Vol. 47, No.7 July 2010, pp 730-741. DOI: 10.1139/T09-146.
  • A field investigation of vertical footing response on sand. K.Gavin, A.Adekunte & B.O’Kelly, Proceeding of ICE, Geotechnical Engineering, Vol.162, Issue GE5, pp 257-267, DOI 10.I 680/geng.2009.I 62.5.257, October 2009. 
  • The shaft capacity of CFA piles in Sand,  K.Gavin, D.Cadogan and Patrick Casey, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol 135, Issue 6, 2009, pp 790-798. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0000073


  • PISA Project
    To develop a new design approach for offshore laterally loaded piles (in collaboration with the University of Oxford and imperial College).
  • Novel Foundations for Green Energy
    To develop a novel anchor system for offshore energy applications ( in collaboration with the University of Texas, the University of Rhode Island and Queens University Belfast).
    An FP7 project considering the resilience of ageing rail infrastructure against climate change.

Other activities

  • Associate Editor Canadian Geotechnical Journal
  • Management board member of the Cost Action TU1202 considering the effect of climate change on engineered slopes and COST TU1406 on Bridge Maintenance.
  • Member of ISSMGE Technical committee TC 209 on Offshore Geotechnics
  • Member of ISSMGE Technical committee TC212 on Deep Foundations
  • Member of the European Technical Committee on Pile Foundation ETC3
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions

Ken Gavin

Professor of Subsurface Engineering

Read my Story of Science