Professor Ian Smith

Academic career

I am an internationally recognised, senior academic with 6 years Head/Dean of School experience. Having gained First Class Honours in Civil Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, I carried out my PhD - also at HWU - on the effect of rainfall patterns on earthworking. I took up a lectureship in Geotechnical Engineering at Napier University in 1995.

During a 22 year long period at Napier, I was steadily promoted to Teaching Fellow, Senior Lecturer, Head of Civil Engineering, Head of the School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Dean of the School and Professor of Teaching and Learning. I am also Visiting Professor at Shanghai Normal University in China and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In May 2017 I left Edinburgh Napier to establish my own consultancy and offer freelance services to geotechnical engineering and to education.

Smith's Elements of Soil Mechanics

My national and international recognition is largely based upon the success of my text book, Smith's Elements of Soil Mechanics. I have been praised for my ability of making complicated subjects easy to understand. With a suite of freely available accompanying spreadsheets and documents, the book is used by students and practicing engineers across the globe.  

Geotechnical experience

Prior to the start of my academic career, I worked for a few years in the site investigation industry. My theoretical knowledge and practical experience equip me well in the judgement of the likely behaviour of soils under varying geotechnical conditions.

I am also recognised as an authority on the use of Eurocode 7 in Geotechnical Design. I have given countless CPD courses and technical seminars on Geotechnical Design to EN 1997 across the world. My course notes, accompanied by clearly illustrative examples, have enabled many practicing engineers to really understand the procedures adopted in the code. 

I have worked in both industry and academia, all over the world: China and Hong Kong, Myanmar, USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Qatar and UAE.