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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor David Toll, BSc PhD DIC Eur Ing FICE CEng

Professor in the Department of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42388
Room number: E370 (Higginson)

(email at


David Toll is a Professor in the Department of Engineering at Durham University, UK. He also has the following roles:

  • Chair of Technical Committee TC106 on Unsaturated Soils of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)
  • Chair, Joint Technical Committee JTC2 of the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies (representing ISRM, ISSMGE and IAEG) (2005-2017)
  • Kwang-Hua Chair Professor at Tongji University, China
  • Chair, Institution of Civil Engineers North East (2013-14)
  • Chair, Northern Geotechnical Group (the regional group of the British Geotechnical Association and part of ICE North East) (2009-2014)
  • International Research Collaboration Fellow at University of Sydney, Australia (2014)

David Toll's research encompasses two highly relevant areas of civil engineering: (i) the engineering behaviour of unsaturated and tropical soils and (ii) the application of information technology to geotechnical engineering. The primary focus for his work on unsaturated soils is to find engineering solutions for natural hazards, particularly landslides. Much of his current work examines the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure through field and laboratory studies and numerical modelling. His research in information technology involves work on data exchange and standards, BIM, data acquisition and computer control systems.

He was Chair of the Scientific Committee for the European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering held in Edinburgh in 2015. He has been a member of the organising/technical committee for many international conferences on unsaturated soils: Singapore, 2000; Recife, 2002; Weimar, 2003; Trento, 2005; Nanjing, 2007; Barcelona, 2010; Pattaya, 2011; Naples 2012; Sydney 2014 and organised the First European Conference on Unsaturated Soils in Durham, 2008. He also organises the conference series on Information Technology in Geo-Engineering with conferences in Shanghai in 2010 and Durham in 2014.

He has twice been a member of the editorial advisory board of Geotechnique and been member of the Editorial Panels for two Geotechnique Symposia in Print (2011 and 2013). He was the founding editor for the international journal, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, published by Springer, and remains a member of the editorial board. He has been a member of the editorial boards of the Quarterly Journal for Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology and the Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering

He is Director of the Sustainable Infrastructure Research Challenge for the Department of Engineering. He has been Design Coordinator, Accreditation Coordinator, Director of Education and International Coordinator the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. He teaches Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering on the undergraduate MEng course in Engineering.

Research Interests

  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Engineering geology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Information technology


Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Toll, D.G. (2012). The Behaviour of Unsaturated Soils. In A Handbook of Tropical Residual Soil Engineering. Huat, B.B.K., Toll, D.G. & Prasad, A. London: Taylor and Francis. Chapter 4: 117-145.
  • Toll, D.G. (2012). Tropical Soils. In ICE Manual of Geotechnical Engineering. Burland, J., Chapman, T., Skinner, H. & Brown, M. London: Institution of Civil Engineers. Chapter 30: 341-361.

Conference Paper

Edited book

Edited Journal

Journal Article

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