Byron Byrne BE(Hons) BCom MA DPhil

Professor of Engineering Science

Fellow of St Catherine's College

TEL: 01865 273028
COLLEGE: St Catherine's College
  • Biography
  • Research
  • Publications
  • DPhil Supervision


Professor Byron Byrne holds the Ørsted / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Advanced Geotechnical Design at Oxford. He is also Professor of Engineering Science in Civil Engineering and a Fellow at St Catherine’s College. He is an Associate of the Geotechnical Consulting Group in London and the Oxford Director for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Marine Structures (graduate teaching).

Growing up in country Western Australia, Byron went to school in Esperance before moving to Perth to complete degrees in Civil Engineering and Commerce at the University of Western Australia. He came across to Oxford University in 1996 as a Rhodes Scholar to study for a doctorate in Engineering, after which he continued as a postdoctoral Research Fellow funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. During that period he was also a College Lecturer in Engineering Science and a ‘Prize Fellow’ at Magdalen College. In 2001 he took up a Departmental Lecturership in the Engineering Department and continued as an Official Fellow at Magdalen College in a bursarial role (being responsible for the Oxford Science Park). In October 2005 he was appointed to a University Lecturership in Engineering Science with a Tutorial Fellowship at St Catherine's College. In July 2014 he was awarded the title of Professor of Engineering Science by the University and in 2018 was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair. Prior to starting his graduate studies in Oxford, he worked in research at UWA and Oxford as well as a short period for the consultancy firm Advanced Geomechanics.

Outside of academia, Byron is interested in cricket and played for Oxford whilst a student gaining four Blues (1997 to 2000). He is also a playing member of the MCC. Previously, he played A Grade WACA cricket in Western Australia, as well as a two year stint in the Birmingham League.

Oxford Science Park

Byron is a Director of the The Oxford Science Park, having been involved with the management and development of the Park since mid 2002. The Oxford Science Park is owned and developed by Magdalen College, Oxford, with the aim of providing high-quality accommodation in an attractive environment for science and technology based companies of all sizes. More than 550,000 sq ft of office and laboratory space has been completed to date.

Research Interests

Dr Byron Byrne's 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:

Foundations for offshore structures

Byron is 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. He is 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, Byron 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, he 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, the team was awarded a contract by EPSRC, in collaboration with Cranfield University, to develop a Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Marine Structures.
  • In 2018, they 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 his Research Chair in Advanced Geotechnical Design.

General loading of shallow foundations

Byron carries 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. He has designed unique loading equipment to explore this problem (such as the six degree of freedom loading rig in Oxford).

Offshore pipeline design

His 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 they 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, Byron has 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.

Byron is a member of the Applied Ocean Research Editorial Board and has been a member of both the Géotechnique and the Géotechnique Letters Advisory Panels. His 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.


Byron is 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.

Recent clients have included Arup, Atkins, Cathie Associates, DONG Energy, KW Subsea, Repsol Nuevas Energias UK, Statoil and Technip Offshore UK Ltd.


Byron's publications are divided into journal papers, conference papers and others. To obtain copies, contact him via email.

In addition, he has written two dissertations as part of his educational training:

  • Byrne, B.W. (2000).“Investigations of suction caissons in dense sand.” DPhil Thesis, Department of Engineering Science, The University of Oxford. Abstract | Entire thesis as pdf (8900k)
  • Byrne, B.W. (1994).“Driven pipe piles in dense sand.” Honours Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Western Australia. Abstract

DPhil Supervision

Byron is the Oxford Director for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Renewable Energy Marine Structures. There are currently 14 students from Oxford at the CDT, across 5 cohorts: P. Houlston, T. Joseph, S. Whyte; R. Mayall, I. Richards, J. White; T. Balaam; E. Anderson, K.W. Wu; B. Chen, S. Martin, M. Qiu, L. Simonin.

Over the years, he has lectured and taught widely across the Engineering Science course, and has won two University Teaching Awards, in 2009 and 2017.

Byron is currently supervising research of the following students:

  • Mr Ronan Royston (St Catherine's College / Ward and Burke). Design and performance of large diameter concrete caissons. Commenced 2015.
  • Mr Russell Mayall (St Catherine's College / E.ON / HR Wallingford). Foundation response to scour and scour protection. Commenced 2015.
  • Ms Iona Richards (St Peter's College / REMS CDT EPSRC Studentship). Monopile foundations under complex cyclic lateral loading in sand. Commenced 2015.
  • Mr Toby Balaam (Wolfson College / REMS CDT EPSRC Studentship). Calibration of cyclic loading models for monopile foundations. Commenced 2016.
  • Mr Kuen-Wei Wu (Harris Manchester College / Ørsted). Rate effects for monopile foundations. Commenced 2017.
  • Mrs Sarah Martin (Wolfson College / Ørsted). Cyclic loading of monopile foundations. Commenced 2018.
  • Ms Bohan Chen (Wolfson College, Chinese Scholarship Council). Design of monopile foundations. Commenced 2018.
  • Mr Mark Qiu (Wolfson College / REMS CDT EPSRC  Studentship / Ørsted). Cyclic loading of monopile foundations. Commenced 2018.
  • Mr Luc Simonin (St Catherine's College / Ørsted). Cyclic loading of monopile foundations. Commenced 2018.
  • Mr Bryn Phillips (Harris Manchester College / Ward and Burke). To be confirmed. Commenced 2018.

Byron is currently supervising the following post-doctoral Research Assistants:

  • Thomas Andolffson, Experimental Geotechnics.
  • Dr Stephen Suryasentana. Advanced Geotechnical Modelling, Ørsted Project

He has supervised the following students who have now completed their research:

  • Dr Stephen Suryasentana (Balliol College). DPhil, 2018: Time-critical design methods for suction caisson foundations. Funded by Ørsted.
  • Dr Susannah Cooke (Brasenose College): DPhil, 2016: Enhanced array design for tidal power generation. Submitted. Funded by EPSRC (Supergen Marine).
  • Ms Yiling He (St Cross College): MSc(R), 2016: Analysis of the parameterised soil reaction curve method for laterally loaded monopiles for offshore wind applications.
  • Dr Christelle Abadie (St Catherine’s College): DPhil, 2015: Cyclic loading of monopile foundations in cohesionless soils. Funded by EDF Energy.
  • Mr Yongwei Li (St Hugh’s College): MSc(R), 2015: Lateral buckling of offshore oil and gas on-bottom pipelines on sand.
  • Dr Deqiong Kong (Lincoln College): DPhil, 2015: Large displacement numerical analysis of offshore pipe-soil interaction on clay. Funded by the Chinese Scholarship Committee.
  • Mr Timothy Rose (St Cross College): MSc(R), 2014: Solid bulk shipping: Cargo shift, liquefaction and the transportable moisture limit.
  • Dr Elizabeth Williams (New College): DPhil, 2014: Upheaval buckling of offshore pipelines buried in loose and liquefiable soils. Funded by the Clarendon Fund.
  • Dr Laith Tapper (Worcester College): DPhil, 2013: Bearing capacity of perforated offshore foundations under combined loading. Research partially supported by Arup.
  • Dr Richard Sandford (Oriel College): DPhil, 2012: Lateral buckling of high pressure / high temperature on-bottom pipelines. Funded by EPSRC CASE Award with Conoco Phillips.
  • Dr Jens Schupp (Mansfield College): DPhil, 2009: Upheaval buckling and flotation of buried offshore pipelines. Funded by EPSRC CASE Award with Technip.
  • Dr Oliver Cotter (Magdalen College): DPhil, 2009: The installation of suction caissons foundations for offshore renewable energy structures. Funded by EPSRC and Fugro Ltd.
  • Dr Felipe Villalobos (Keble College): DPhil, 2006: Model testing of foundations for offshore wind turbines. Funded by DTI / Industry project on Suction Caissons.

He has also supervised a number of visitors to the Oxford research group including Dan Kallehave (DTU/Dong Energy, Graduate, 2012-2013), Dr Bin Zhu (Zhejiang University, Academic, 2009/10), Matt Hodder (UWA, Graduate, 2008), Christian Bakmar (Aalborg, Graduate, 2007), Stefania Galetti (Bologna, Undergraduate, 2006/07), Kar Lu Teh (NUS, Graduate, 2006), Marc Senders (UWA, Graduate, 2006), Britta Bienen (UWA, Graduate, 2005), Mattia Rovere (Ecole Centrale de Lille, Undergraduate, Politecnico di Milano, 2004).