Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (CIES)

The UNSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (CIES) was established in January 2007 to facilitate advanced research in all aspects of civil engineering infrastructure – building structures, bridges, tunnels, roads, railways and pavements.

CIES is a leader in national and international research in infrastructure engineering, with an interdisciplinary research team supported by advanced analytical, computational and experimental techniques and facilities.

CIES logoIn the developed world, not only it is essential to strengthen and rehabilitate ageing civil engineering infrastructure, there is also the question of engineering for climate change and the need for advanced and high performance materials to meet society’s future needs.

CIES research aims to provide outcomes that improve the design, construction and maintenance of economic, effective and safe civil engineering infrastructure for today – and tomorrow.

Research activities

CIES is focused on high-level research in:

  • structural engineering
  • geotechnical engineering
  • engineered materials
  • computational mechanics.

Specifically, we apply our skills to:

  • engineering behavioural studies,
  • safety assessments and risk management of civil engineering infrastructure when subjected to both in-service and overload (or limit) conditions, and
  • structures subjected to fire, earthquake, cyclone or blast loadings, or when structures are exposed to hostile environments.

CIES also undertakes advanced and strategic consultancies with industry, utilising our analytical and laboratory testing facilities, many with the support of Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project funding.

Research staff

CIES consists of 100 staff, including 40 academic and research staff, 10 technical support staff and more than 50 PhD students, making it Australia’s largest research centre for infrastructure engineering and safety.

The core activities of the Infrastructure Centre are underpinned by a significant number of eminent academic staff of international renown in their respective fields, particularly in structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, advanced materials engineering, construction management and innovation, pavement engineering, engineering mechanics, computational mechanics and in laboratory testing.

The CIES Structural Engineering Group at UNSW is a long standing leader in its discipline in Australasia, with internationally renowned scholars in concrete, steel and composite structures, and computational mechanics and numerical modelling.

The Geotechnical Engineering Group is nationally and internationally recognised for its seminal work in unsaturated soils mechanics, dam engineering, advanced numerical modelling and pavement engineering.

CIES:CIES symposium

  • promotes the application of research outcomes and deliverables to industry,
  • provides a forum for research engineers and scientists from various disciplines to exchange ideas and to develop and lead collaborative research programs, and
  • contributes to the education and training of high-quality postgraduate students in a wide range of engineering and applied science disciplines and provides an outstanding research and learning environment.

Research excellence

CIES provides a platform for the submission of highly competitive research grant funding applications, for both ARC and industry grants. Annual research funding is in excess of $2M.

CIES staff have contributed significantly to the maximum research rating of 5/5 (“well above world standard”) achieved by UNSW Civil & Environmental Engineering in the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, and to the School’s ranking as first in Australia and 9th in the world (AWRU).

CIES has an significant research output (reference text books, published papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings) and has contributed significantly to Standards Australia committees in the development of national codes of practice.

Research facilitiesCIES composite slab test

CIES facilities include the Heavy Structures Research Laboratory, Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory and Advanced Computational Analysis Laboratory. Much of the equipment in our Geomechanics Laboratory is designed and manufactured by our researchers and is unique to CIES, including:

  • suction and temperature-controlled triaxial equipment
  • suction-controlled oedometer
  • ring shear testing apparatus
  • rotating cylinder equipment
  • hole-erosion testing
  • suction-controlled calibration chamber
  • large shear box testing equipment.

More information

The UNSW Centre for Infrastructure Engineering and Safety (CIES) website: http://www.cies.unsw.edu.au/

Centre Acting Director: Professor Chongmin Song

Centre Manager: Ms Theresa Wisniewski