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

John Mitchell Award

The John Mitchell Award is presented annually by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), based on a nomination from the BGA, for significant contributions in the field of geotechnical engineering.

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The award was instituted in memory of the prominent geotechnical engineer John Mitchell of Arup, who was killed while observing piling works at a central London site in 1990.

John Mitchell of Arup

John Mitchell

The award criteria considered by the BGA include the following:

  • In reflection of John Mitchell’s career, selection will favour practical applications of up to date geotechnical concepts or models (rather than advanced theoretical academic practice).
  • The BGA will consider individuals, like John, who in the course of their careers via incremental works have made significant contribution to geotechnical practice.
  • Notwithstanding the above, the BGA will in addition consider any contemporary practitioner who has instigated a major advance in the geotechnical field, thus opening the award up to the innovative, regardless of age or incremental contribution count.

The Award winner gives the John Mitchell Lecture at a BGA Evening meeting the January following the year of the award.

List of John Mitchell Award winners

Previous John Mitchell Award winners are listed below. Prior to 2014, the Award was given to a published paper. The criteria were changed in 2014, to present the award to a person. The list below is for the period since 2008 when the award nominations began to be administered by the BGA. Prior to 2008 the award was administered by the John Mitchell Trust.

Year of award


Title of lecture/paper

2021 Mike Winter (Winter Associates) Road asset, socioeconomic and fatality risk from debris flow
2021 Martin Preene (Richter Associates) Thinking conceptually about groundwater problems
2020 David Beadman (Byrne Looby) A career embedded in the ground
2019 Stuart Marchand (Wentworth House Partnership) The temporary support of excavations
2018 Clif Kettle (Clif Kettle Consulting) Ground treatment: 40 years from black art to fully engineered solution


Len Threadgold (Geotechnics Limited)

Re-thinking site investigation


Andrew Ridley (Geotechnical Observations)

Monitoring the performance of clay slopes


Martin Pedley (Skanska)

Developments in geotechnical engineering & construction during the last 25 years – a personal perspective


Colin Eddie (Morgan Sindall)

The past, present and future of tunnelling


Mike Long (University College Dublin), Carl Brangan (Applied Ground Engineering Consultants Limited), Chris Menkiti (GCG), Michael Looby (Byrne Looby Partners) and Patrick Casey (Arup)

Retaining walls in Dublin Boulder Clay, Ireland


Mourice Czerewko, Stephen Cross (URS/Scott Wilson) and Philip Dumelow, Amon Saadvandi (Balfour Beatty Major Civil Engineering Limited)

Assessment of pyritic Lower Lias mudrocks for earthworks


Mike Hendry, Lee Barbour (University of Saskatchewan) and David Hughes (Queen's University Belfast)

Track displacement and energy loss in a railway embankment


Chris Mundell, Paul McCombie, Andrew Heath, Pete Walker (University of Bath) and Claire Bailey (Clarke Bond)

Limit-equilibrium assessment of drystone retaining structures


Mike Long (University College Dublin) and Michael Looby (Byrne Looby Partners)

Deep excavations in Dublin: recent developments


Gareth Swift (University of Salford) and Russell Jones (Golder Associates)

Design of a reinforced embankment on compressible soil

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