Professor Lord Mair, who was at St Faith’s from 1957 to 1963, is a world-renowned civil engineer and a leading expert on infrastructure and construction.
A fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, he was Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cambridge University from 2001 to 2016, and was the Master of Jesus College Cambridge from 2001 to 2011. Robert is also the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering, and has recently founded the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), a group with a mission of turning research into commercial application to transform the future of infrastructure.
Prior to his appointment at Cambridge in 1998, Robert spent 27 years in industry founding the Geotechnical Consulting Group, a London-based consulting firm, in 1983.
Robert has advised on many notable, large-scale underground engineering projects including the Jubilee Line Extension, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1) and metro projects in Amsterdam, Rome and Singapore. He is a member of the Expert Panel for Crossrail in London – currently Europe`s largest construction project.
In 2012 Robert chaired the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report on shale gas extraction, commissioned by the Government`s Chief Scientific Advisor. He is also Chairman of the Science Advisory Council of the Department of Transport, a Vice-President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and engineering adviser to the Laing O`Rourke Group.
Robert’s PhD at Cambridge was on the subject of centrifuge modelling of tunnel construction in soft ground. His work has also included the introduction of compensation grouting in the UK as a novel technique for controlling settlement of structures during tunnel construction. The technique was used in the Jubilee Line Extension project for the protection of many historic buildings including the Big Ben Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster and has now been widely adopted.
Robert has published numerous papers, mainly on the geotechnical aspects of soft-ground tunnelling and excavations. He was awarded the British Geotechnical Society Prize in 1980 for his work on tunnels, the Institution of Civil Engineers Geotechnical Research Medal in 1994, their Gold Medal in 2004 and their President’s Medal in 2013.
In 2010 Robert was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and in October 2015 he was appointed to the House of Lords as an independent crossbench Peer.
Robert Mair is pictured below with his brother Christopher Mair, also an Old Fidelian from 1952-1958, on his introduction to the House of Lords.