The British Geotechnical Association (BGA) is the principal
association for geotechnical engineers in the United Kingdom.

Emily Riley wins 51st Cooling Prize Competition

The British Geotechnical Association (BGA) is pleased to announce that Emily Riley of CVB JV Tideway East has been awarded the 51st Cooling Prize for her presentation on Engineering Mitigation of a Water Bearing Fissure in the Chalk

Emily Riley wins 51st Cooling Prize Competition

The British Geotechnical Association (BGA) is pleased to announce that Emily Riley of CVB JV Tideway East has been awarded the 51st Cooling Prize for her presentation on Engineering Mitigation of a Water Bearing Fissure in the Chalk.

Emily Riley being presented with the Cooling Prize Certificate by BGA Vice Chair Professor David Toll

The Cooling Prize competition is held annually by the British Geotechnical Association (BGA) and is named after Dr Leonard Cooling, one of the founders of British Soil Mechanics, a former chair of the BGA, and the 2nd Rankine Lecturer. The Cooling Prize competition is intended for professionals in the geotechnical/ground engineering industry in the early stages of their careers.

The 51st Cooling Prize Competition was hosted by the Yorkshire Geotechnical Group (YGG) at the University of Leeds on 10 March 2020. The event was chaired by Ben Thompson on behalf of the YGG, in front of an audience of more than 50 people.

At the start of the evening Sergio Solera of Mott MacDonald, on behalf of the BGA, gave a short lecture about the development of the prize and Dr Leonard Cooling’s career. The three shortlisted finalists then presented their papers. During judging a keynote lecture was given by Alan Willoner of Mott MacDonald on the Travis Brow to A6 Link Road

The judging panel was led by BGA Vice Chair Professor David Toll (Durham University), who was joined by former winner Dr Fleur Loveridge (University of Leeds), Mr Will Frampton (Byland Engineering) and Mr Chris Hitch (COWI).

The finalists and the subjects of their presentations were:

  • Emily Riley (CVB JV Tideway East): Engineering Mitigation of a Water Bearing Fissure in the Chalk
  • Laura Stedman (Mott MacDonald): Deletion of 70 No. Piles Using a Large-Scale Load Test
  • Scott Whyte (Fugro/Oxford University): A Practical Cyclic Loading Model for FEA-Based Design

As well as giving their presentations, the finalists had to field questions from the audience.

The judges agreed that all three papers and presentations were of a very high standard.

Before announcing the winner, David Toll said: ‘All three presentations were of high quality and we were also impressed by the diversity of the subjects covered by the three finalists. It was also interesting and encouraging that all three presentations covered their respective problems all the way from concept through to validation of the solution.’

The judges selected Emily Riley as the winner based on a strong and clear presentation of a good practical application. She demonstrated an excellent overall understanding, and we were particularly impressed by high level of detailed knowledge she displayed when responding to questions.’

Emily will be invited to write up her presentation for publication in Ground Engineering magazine and will also give her presentation to the BGA’s Annual Conference later in the year.

A selection of photographs from the event are below:

Emily Riley during her Cooling Prize presentation

Laura Stedman during her Cooling Prize presentation

Scott Whyte during his Cooling Prize presentation

The 2020 Cooling Prize Finalists with BGA Vice Chair Professor David Toll

Laura Stedman being presented with a Runners Up prize by BGA Vice Chair Professor David Toll


Scott Whyte being presented with a Runners Up prize by BGA Vice Chair Professor David Toll

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