Professor Ian Jefferson BEng(Hons), DIS, PhD, FGS

Professor Ian Jefferson

School of Civil Engineering
Professor in Geotechnical Engineering
Deputy Head of School (Teaching) and Head of Education

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 7972
+44 (0) 121 414 3675
School of Civil Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Jefferson graduated from Loughborough University, with a BEng (hons) Degree in Civil Engineering. He then continued to read for a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering.

After completion of his doctorate in 1992, he worked for three years as a lecturer at Loughborough University. After which he joined Nottingham Trent University as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in 1995, becoming a Principal Lecturer in 2001 and a Reader in 2002. He joined the staff at the University of Birmingham in August 2004.


Professor Jefferson is involved with teaching soil mechanics, geotechnical engineering and engineering geology at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition he has teaching interests in waste management and sustainability.

PhD opportunities


Research Interests

  • Collapsible soils in particular loess from around the world including Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the UK. This work includes geomorphological/geological controls on loess formation and their geotechnical consequences, in-situ and laboratory assessment of loess behaviour, notably its collapsibility and ways to mitigate this collapse behaviour using a range of improvement techniques.
  • Ground improvements including chemical stabilisation (including treatment of contaminated land) and densification, notably vibro-stone columns including use of alternative materials and the in-situ assessment of improvements gain using geophysical approaches.
  • Assessment of various geohazards and their geotechnical consequences including rising ground water and its effects, collapse and behaviour of problematical soils, notably glacial tills.
  • Sustainability in urban developments and in particular its impact on geotechnical engineering and the geotechnical process.

Professor Jefferson has been awarded grants worth more than £4 million and has published over 70 refereed journal and conference papers.

Current Research Projects

  • Loess soil stabilisation
  • Collapsibility in loess soils
  • Ground Improvement using stone columns
  • Assessment of improved ground using geophysics
  • Shear strength of glacial tills
  • Sustainability Assessments in urban Development
  • Sustainability in the geotechnical process
  • Sustainable urban redevelopment - Eastside

Other activities

External Appointments

  • International member of the Transport Research Board (TRB), ABF70 Utility Committee
  • Member of the All Party Parliamentary Water Group, since 2010
  • International member of the ASCE Utility standards committee, since 2009
  • Marker/Moderator at the University of Birmingham on the Postgraduate Teaching Certificate in Learning and Teaching, since 2007
  • Member of the Institution of Civil Engineer’s Municipal Expert and Geospatial Engineering Panels
  • BSI Steering Committee Member for the development of PAS128
  • Member of the Utility Detection and Mapping Group
  • Member of the Utility Strike Avoidance Group’s Data and Reporting Working Group
  • Plagiarism Officer for Civil Engineering since 2013


Recent Publications

Hunt, D.V.L., Jefferson, I., Rogers, C.D.F., Bulter, D. & Memon F.A. (2011), Sustainable Infrastructure Planning For New Towns In Ireland.  Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers Urban Design and Planning. 164

Hunt, D.V.L., Jefferson, I. and Rogers, C.D.F. (2011), Assessing the sustainability of underground space usage - A toolkit for testing possible urban futures. Journal of Mountain Science. 8 (2): 211-222  

Jefferson, I., & Gaterell, M. Thomas, A., Serridge, C.J. (2010), Emission assessment related to Vibro-stone columns.  Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers, Ground Improvement, 163: 71-77.

Holt, D.A., Jefferson, I., Braithwaite, P., & Chapman, D.N. (2010), Embedding Sustainability in Geotechnical Engineering: Part A - methodology.  Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability, 163: 127-135.

Madun, A., Jefferson,I., Chapman, D.N., Culshaw, M.G., Foo,K.Y. & Atkins, P.R. (2010), Evaluation of the multi-channel surface wave analysis approach for the monitoring of multiple soil-stiffening columns. Near Surface Geophysics, 8: 611-621.

Rogers, C.D.F., Thomas, A.M., Jefferson, I., & Gaterell, M. (2009), Carbon Dioxide Emissions due to Highway Subgrade Improvements. Transport Research Record: Journal of the Transpotation Research Board, 2104: 80-87. 

Hunt, D.V.L., Jefferson, I., Gaterell, M & Rogers C.D.F.  (2009), Planning for sustainable utility infrastructure.  Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers Urban Design and Planning, 162: 187-201.

Northmore KJ, Jefferson I, Jackson PD, Entwisle DC, Milodowski AE, Raines MR, Gunn DA, Boardman DI, Zourmpakis A, Nelder LM, Rogers CDF, Dixon N, Smalley IJ, and Derbyshire E (2008), On-Site Characterisation of Loessic Brickearth Deposits at Ospringe, Kent, UK. Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers, Geotechnical Engineering, 161: 3-17.

Hunt, D.V.L., Lombardi, D.R., Rogers C.D.F. & Jefferson, I. (2008),  Sustainability indicators and their application in decision-making processes for Eastside, Birmingham, UK. Engineering Sustainability, Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability, 161: 7-91.

Jefferson, I., Birchall, C, Hunt, D.V.L. & Rogers C.D.F (2007),  Sustainability Indicators for Environmental Geotechnics, Proceedings on the Institution of Civil Engineers, Engineering Sustainability, 160: 57-78 , , 160: 57-78