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Prof Richard Simons
Room 2.04
Chadwick Building
UCL, Gower Street
Prof Richard Simons profile picture
  • Emeritus Professor
  • Dept of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Eng
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
  • Richard Simons' main research interests lie in the field of Coastal Engineering, with particular emphasis on hydrodynamics, the study of wave-current interaction and fluid effects on sediment, structures and seabed scour. Experiments in flumes, basins, water tunnels and the field have covered a wide range of conditions and the results have given an insight into fundamental fluid processes and related interactions with marine structures and the seabed. Facilities at UCL include three wave-current flumes: these have been used in a recent EPSRC/Supergen-funded investigation into the impacts of extreme wave-current events on marine tidal and wave energy structures. Xuan Zhang (PhD graduate) has recently undertaken a fundamental study into the interaction of waves with vortices, turbulence and turbulent currents.
  • With particular relevance to the marine renewables industry and scour around offshore wind farm foundations, experiments were conducted by Vidura Vithana (PhD) using the 3-d flow velocimetry system "3V3" and other techniques to assess the stability of scour protection at various levels of rock misalignment; Kate Porter, (EngD) worked with HR Wallingford to investigate scour in mixed and layered sediments and around complex foundations; Nick Tavoukstoglou (EngD) focused on scour evolution and protection measures around gravity base structures; Mohammed Al-Hammadi (PhD) looked at the effects of structural vibration on seabed scour and scour protection; and Carlos Menendez-Vicente is using computer simulations to model the scour process. Richard has a particular interest in marine aggregate dredging: in a recent project Stefania Schinaia (EngD) developed and applied a cellular automata model to predict the long-term impact on and recovery of the seabed and its associated biological systems of offshore dredging activities. In the broader field of coastal morphology, another project with Anna Bakare (PhD) applied novel statistical methods to characterize and predict long-term morphological development of the seabed. In the field of fluid-structure interaction, ANN methods were used by Amir Sharif Ahmadian (PhD) to model flow over and around low-crested breakwaters, using new experimental data from various scales of experiment in three flumes for training and validation of the model. And Alex Hammeken (PhD) completed his doctoral investigation into the effects of porosity and groundwater levels on wave run-up and overtopping on barrier beaches subject to severe storm impacts.
  • During the 1990s Richard oversaw commissioning and management of the UK National Coastal Research Facility at Wallingford and was influential in DEFRA's introduction of the UK coastal wave monitoring programme WaveNet. He served on the UK Coastal Monitoring and Forecasting Service (UKCMF) advisory group and on the Advisory Panel for the ICE Journal of Maritime Engineering.

Other Activities

Research Themes
Research Summary

  • Wave forces on a vertical cylinder due to spilling breaking and near-breaking wave groups. With Javier Murgoitio Esandi, Dr Eugeny Buldakov and Dr Dimitris Stagonas
  • Survivability of marine tidal and wave energy devices under extreme wave and current conditions. With Dr Eugeny Buldakov, Dr Kevin Drake, Dr Stavroula Balabani and Dr Dimitris Stagonas. EPSRC/Supergen
  • Local scour around dynamically active in marine structures. With Mohammed Al-Hammadi
  • The interaction of waves with turbulence and turbulent currents. With Xuan Zhang
  • Scour protection design for offshore gravity foundations. With Nick Tavouktsoglou. In association with HR Wallingford.
  • Management of barrier beaches subject to hurricane impacts. With Alex Hammeken
  • Scour around complex foundations. With Kate Porter. In association with HR Wallingford.
  • Prediction of long-term coastal morphology. In association with Dr Deborah Villarroel-Lamb (Newton Research Fellow and UWI), the Royal Academy of Engineers and the Royal Society.
  • Experiments and ANN modelling of the 3-d wave field around submerged breakwaters. With Dr Amir Sharif Ahmadian
  • Fluid forces on idealised bed armour at the seabed. With Dr Vidura Vithana
  • Cellular automata modelling of seabed recovery after marine aggregate dredging. With Dr Stefania Schinaia, ABPmer and DEFRA, through the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund.
  • The effect of biofilms on seabed morphology, sediment transport and boundary layer turbulence. In association with Prof Marcel Stive (TU Delft).
  • Modelling seabed morphology using statistical methods. In association with Mr Jeremy Morley (Geomatics) and Dr Serge Guillas (UCL Statistics). With Dr Anna Bakare

See below to view a list of the MSc and 3rd year research projects I have supervised:

·         MSc dissertations (PDF)

Teaching Summary

Richard was until recently the Director of Studies in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, chairing meetings of departmental Exam Boards and responsible for all teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. As Chair of the Teaching Committee and Programme Director, Richard oversaw the introduction of radical new undergraduate degree programmes in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering at UCL. These organised the first two years of the degree programmes around eight one-week multi-disciplinary, open-ended projects (Scenarios), breaking each year into four Quarters, and phasing the curriculum to complement the Scenarios. This initiative was rewarded in 2013 when Richard was joint winner of the UCL Provost's Teaching Award for Team Collaboration and Teaching Achievement.

In 2012 the department started a three-year part-time Masters programme in Rail Integrated Design Management in partnership with Atkins (Rail). Richard played a key role in establishing this innovative programme which drew its tutors exclusively from experienced practitioners in the Rail industry.

During his time as Study Abroad and Affiliate Tutor, the number of students wishing to spend their 3rd year studying abroad grew from a trickle to a substantial proportion (>30%) of the year cohort. This reflects the changing attitude of students and the ethos of the new degree programmes.

The Offshore and Coastal Engineering module offered as part of the Oceans "Minor" and also available to Masters students evolves each year to reflect current issues at the coastline and for the marine renewables industry. It regularly introduces innovations in its methods of teaching and assessment, uses four visiting lecturers from industry and includes a 1-day visit to the coastline.

His most recent teaching activities were:

  • CEGE0014 2nd Year Stream Gauging (Lampeter Field Course) 
  • CEGE0023 3rd Year/M-level Coastal Engineering 
  • Supervision of 3rd Year Research Projects, MSc Research Projects and PhD/EngD research
01-OCT-2006 Professor of Fluid Mechanics and Coastal Engineering Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-1992 – 30-SEP-2006 Senior Lecturer Civil and Environmental Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1983 – 31-AUG-1992 Lecturer Civil and Municipal Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1973 – 30-SEP-1974 Graduate Engineer Structural Design Norwest Holst Ltd, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1980   Doctor of Philosophy University of London
1973   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Manchester
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