Professor Lord Robert Mair honoured for contribution to engineering



The United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has recognised Professor Lord Robert Mair for his contributions to engineering. The Cambridge-based tunnelling specialist is also the Immediate Past-President of the Institution of Civil Engineers(ICE). During the Institution’s bicentennial year (1818-2018) he was its 153rd President.

The NAE elected Lord Mair as a Foreign Member of the academy for “contributions to underground construction and smart infrastructure and for leadership in government, engineering practice, research, and education”. He was one of 18 foreign members chosen to join the NAE in 2019. The list includes Sir James Dyson. The new members will be inducted at a ceremony on 6 October during the Academy’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Underground construction has been Professor Lord Mair’s specialism throughout his career, which spans over 40 years, and all over the world. In the UK, he was closely involved with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1), Crossrail and the London Underground Jubilee Line Extension. He also introduced compensation grouting in the UK. This technique controls settlement of structures during tunnel construction, and has been used on the Jubilee Line project, as well as the Waterloo Escalator Tunnel Project.

Professor Lord Mair’s education and achievements

  • He became Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of Research at Cambridge University in 2017, and a month later took up his position as ICE president for 2017/18.
  • He was appointed Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at Cambridge in 1998.
  • He was the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering 2011-17, Master of Jesus College 2001-11, and a Fellow of St John's College 1998-2001.
  • He's also one of the founding directors of the Geotechnical Consulting Group (GCG), an international consulting company based in London, started in 1983.
  • He was appointed chief engineering adviser to the Laing O'Rourke Group in 2011.
  • Professor Lord Mair read Engineering at Clare College, Cambridge, and graduated in 1971.
  • After working in industry for some years, he returned to Cambridge to do a three-year PhD  on tunnelling in soft ground. He was awarded with a PhD for this work in 1979.

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