Kurt Douglas

Senior Lecturer
Sch-Civil & Environmental Eng
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 5046
(+61 2) 9385 6139

Civil Engineering Building (H20)
Level 5, Room CE506
Kensington Campus

Pells Sullivan Meynink Senior Lecturer of Rock Mechanics,

School of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Research interest

My research looks at how to better predict the properties of rock so that we can more efficiently design foundations, tunnels, slopes and dams..

I am attempting to improve our understanding and hence predictive capabilities of the behaviour of rock at the field scale using laboratory and field based studies. My research covers rockfill and rock mass strength and deformation as well as erosion prediction of spillways. I also investigate piping behaviour within embankment dams.

My research covers rock mass strength and deformation prediction, spillway erosion assessment and piping within embankment dams.

Publications: https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-kurt-john-douglas/publications

Interest in engineering

Why did you get into engineering?

I always had an interest in maths and science and wanted a career that had a broad range of opportunities to use my skills.

What are your research goals?

I want to be able to contribute to better design methods in rock mechanics and dam engineering

What do people not understand about you do?

Most of what a Geotechnical Engineer does is not well understood. Our best work is hidden underground.

Advice for prospective Civil and Environmental engineers

Civil and environmental engineering offers many opportunities both here and overseas, it includes both field and office based work, it throws up many challenges that make it rewarding. If this interests you, go for it!

Lectures/Courses taught

I teach subjects in the Geotechnical Engineering field. As a third year undergraduate I will teach you the fundamentals of engineering geology (the 'geo' part of geotechnical) such that you will be able to predict the possible ground conditions you might encounter when assessing sites for future engineering projects. Students doing my fourth year elective will join me in learning about Geotechnical Engineering design. This includes the design of tunnels, slopes and foundations and the investigation and remediation of landslides. They will also join me on an action packed fieldtrip visiting mines, slopes, landslides, dams and other engineered structures. As a postgraduate student, I will give you specialised training in site investigation techniques, rock engineering for slope and underground design and foundation design.

Awards, Grants, Patents


2012 UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Excellence in Community Engagement – Group

2012 Professional Staff Excellence Award - Team


Robin Fell, Chongmin Song, William L. Peirson and Kurt J. Douglas, “Erosion of embankment dams and dam spillways”, Australian Research Council – Linkage Project LP110100389, $480,000 (2011-2013).


PhD from UNSW Australia

BE with 1st Class Honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia