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I'm pleased to introduce the latest Civil Engineering Alumni Newsletter and my first as the Head of Civil Engineering. Despite my somewhat different background, I have found the first year of my tenure to be fascinating and am excited by the year to come. I recognise that I have a tough act to follow and thank Prof Nigel Cassidy for his excellent leadership over the past couple of years. The School, as a whole, bid farewell to Professor Mark Sterling over the summer, who takes on new challenges as deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor – Staffing. We wish our former Head of Civil Engineering all the very best in his new role.

It is a fantastic time for Civil Engineering at the University. We continually reinforce our reputation as one of the premier institutions to read civil engineering in the UK. We again performed very strongly in the NSS and are rapidly solidifying our position at the top of the subject-specific university league tables. This achievement is in no small part due to the time and dedication that our staff and students dedicated to the development of the learning environment. A civil engineering degree sets you up for life, as many of the stories below demonstrate.

It has been a great year on the awards front. Calum White (MEng, 2019) took the best student award at the G4C Midlands Awards. Calum discusses the merits of concrete as one of the world's most versatile materials below. At the same awards both Professor Christina Jackson (Mentor of the Year) and Beth McGoff (MEng, 2018 - Young Professional of the Year) were both shortlisted in their respective categories. Prof Nicole Metje, 'retained' her ICE West Midlands Studies and Research Award, and another alumna, Becky Drew (MEng, 2017), received the Chair's award. Surely this is proof, if needed, that a degree in civil engineering from the University of Birmingham is a fantastic investment!

On that note, it was tremendous to see so many of our alumni from the past 60 years return to campus in June. It was wonderful to reminisce with friends, walk through the labs and show the campus transformation.

As you'll see in the stories below, we've had a hectic but exciting year. There have been significant research projects awarded, teaching successes and even the formation of the Concrete Canoe Society within the Department.  

Going forward, we are expecting an equally exciting year. The National Buried Infrastructure Facility will launch, and the new School of Engineering building will open its doors for the first time. Stay tuned for updates (why not visit the new EPS Community website)?

And finally, a big thank you to the 43 Civil Engineering alumni who have kindly volunteered with the Department over the last academic year. This feat includes 21 mentors, several industrial advisory board members, at least ten guest speakers and eight graduates featuring at Open Days or outreach events. Thank you, you've made a real impact here! If you'd like to get involved too, please get in touch with our Alumni Relations Manager, Grace Surman on

With very best wishes,

Karl Dearn
Head of the Department of Civil Engineering

Read the 2019 Civil Engineering Alumni Newsletter here.