Physical infrastructure, such as national road and rail systems, and offshore facilities and pipelines, rely on geotechnical engineering design and this is increasingly associated with building on very soft ground (geomaterials). Onshore, transport corridors must frequently make use of poor soils that have proved problematic for other developments while, offshore, soft sediments are encountered in almost all recent developments where water depths now mostly exceed 500 m. In all such cases the response of the geomaterials is complex, highly variable and poses major design challenges. The core goals of the CGSE are therefore to:
A compelling feature of the CGSE is that it capitalises on the complementary research strengths of the Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling at the University of Newcastle, which is a world leader in computational geomechanics, with the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems at the University of Western Australia, which has unparallelled expertise in the physical modelling of geotechnical problems. Combining this natural fit with the SMART Rail Institute and Geotechnics and Railway Engineering Centre at the University of Wollongong, which has a worldwide reputation for its cutting-edge research on transport infrastructure geotechnics, a national focus for geotechnical research will be created.