Skip to main content
Professor in the Department of Engineering+44 (0) 191 33 42388
Co-Director, IHRR / Professor in the Department of Engineering in the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience+44 (0) 191 33 42388


David Toll is a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Co-Director of the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University, UK. He also has the following roles:

  • Chair, British Geotechnical Association
  • Chair of Technical Committee TC106 on Unsaturated Soils of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) (2014-2022)
  • Chair, Joint Technical Committee JTC2 of the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies (representing ISRM, ISSMGE, IAEG and IGS) (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)

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; Lisbon 2020 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 is a member of the editorial board of Transportation Geotechnics and has been for the Quarterly Journal for Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

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

Research interests

  • geotechnical engineering
  • engineering geology
  • information technology


Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Conference Proceeding

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students