Skip to main content

Heriot-Watt University

Toggle navigation
  1. Institute for Infrastructure & Environment

Institute for Infrastructure & Environment

The Institute for Infrastructure and Environment undertakes cutting-edge research to deliver technological advances and inform government policy on topics relevant to the global challenges of: climate change; sustainable development; infrastructure deterioration; and personal and national security.

Our research includes the specialist themes of water management; ultra-speed railways; systems, sustainability and society; construction materials and geo-mechanics; and structures. Within these themes our staff possess the expertise and experience necessary to undertake projects ranging from ‘blue skies’ research, through research investigations of innovative technologies, to industry sponsored consultancy projects.

Research work ranges from multi-million pound research council projects, such as the Flood Risk Management Research Consortium, to individual PhD studentships on topics as diverse as numerical modelling of wave propagation in soil, to the impact of psychological states on situational awareness in transport domains.

The expertise of the Institute’s staff is often recognised by external bodies as evidenced by Professor Paul Jowitt’s CBE for ‘Services to Technology’ and Dr Alan Cuthbertson’s ASCE 2010 Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize for the paper “Deposition from Particle-Laden, Plane, Turbulent, Buoyant Jets,” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, August 2008.


About the Director

Professor Peter Woodward

Director Peter Woodward

Professor Peter Woodward has a PhD in numerical geo-technics from the University of Manchester. During this period he also worked for WS Atkins in the field of earthquake engineering, analysis and design.

He was appointed to the post of Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in 1994 and to the post of Reader in Railways and Geotechnical Engineering in 2007. In 2010 he was promoted to Professor of Railway Geotechnical Engineering and in 2011 became the Director of the Institute.

Since 2001 he has been working with the rail industry on the application of polyurethane geo-composites to railway track stabilisation and reinforcement. This patented technology was spunout from Heriot-Watt University and is now widely used on railways across the UK and increasingly internationally.

He has won multiple awards for his developed technologies, including the Highly Commended Award at the 2005 National Rail Awards, in the Innovation of the Year category. He has also been a previous winner of the ICE Webb Prize (2008) and the UK Young Engineers Award (2001). He has acted as Principal Investigator on many research grants, most recently on EPSRC funded research on high-speed train track interactions at critical track velocities.

In September 2013 Professor Peter Woodward was appointed by Atkins as its first ever Chair of High Speed Rail Engineering for the UK