Professor Britta Bienen

Started at UWA: 2008

Developing innovative offshore geotechnical engineering solutions for renewable energy infrastructure

Professor Britta Bienen is a Professor at the Centre for Offshore Foundations within UWA’s Oceans Graduate School, specialising in offshore geotechnical engineering. Current research interests focus on challenges related to foundations for offshore wind turbines: The effect of the installation process on the in-service performance of monopiles, installation strategies for suction buckets in layered soils and the subsequent in-service performance of the foundations, rapid shearing of saturated sand and the impact of this fundamental geomechanical problem on the wave heights that jack-up wind installer vessels can operate in. 

Her research combines experimental and numerical approaches to develop practical prediction methods for offshore foundations. Britta collaborates widely, both with academia and industry and is actively involved in the development of international guidelines (ISO, InSafeJIP).

Britta joined the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) in 2008, was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2014) and was appointed Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) Chair in Offshore Foundations, leading this Centre of Excellence 2018-2020. She was appointed a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011. Britta is the 2020 John Booker medal recipient, awarded by the Australian Academy of Science, for her contributions to the development of practical predictive methods for soil-structure interaction problems, grounded in sound geotechnical science. Professor Bienen has published more than 130 refereed papers and, in 2012, was awarded with colleagues the Geotechnical Research Medal by the Institution of Civil Engineers, UK, for their research paper ‘Investigation of the potential of bottom water jetting to ease spudcan extraction in soft clay’. She currently serves on the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts (2021-2023).

Professor Bienen has an international reputation for the development of novel methods to assess foundation performance during installation, operation and removal. Her research features in international guidelines and has led to increased economy and reliability in foundation design. 

She has made significant contributions to the development of models for foundations under complex loading. These models represent the current state-of-the-art. Professor Bienen further led the development of innovative centrifuge experiments to obtain for the first time visual evidence of the effects of suction bucket installation at prototype stress conditions. This research has enabled foundation predictions that previously relied on assumptions to be based on sound science.

Professor Bienen’s research has had marked impact in industry, including her award-winning research on jack-up footing extraction. Her research features in international guidelines, with a number of her publications (including recommendations from the Joint Industry Project ‘InSafeJIP’) incorporated into the ISO 19905-1 and the first industry guideline for suction bucket foundations for offshore wind turbines. The translation of scientific findings to practical methods for use in industry is critical for robust, reliable and cost-effective design of infrastructure that the global energy supply depends on.

Since 2009, Professor Bienen has been a member of the International Organization for Standardization Committee (ISO OGP TC67/SC7/WG7/P4) that provides geotechnical design guidance for mobile jack-up platforms and also joined the recently established ISO OGP TC67/SC7/WG7/P54 on Emplacement and removal of jack-ups. She has served on the editorial panel of Géotechnique, the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering and was a guest editor of the Soils and Foundations (Offshore Wind). Britta teaches the Introduction to Professional Engineering and Offshore Geomechanics units.

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Transportation Engineering) with Distinction, Napier University, Edinburgh, UK
  • Diplom-Ingenieur, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • PhD in Offshore Geotechnical Engineering, UWA
My research investigates various aspects of offshore geotechnical engineering, including the effects of the foundation installation procedure and cyclic loading resulting from the ocean environment. These relate to applications such as jack-up platforms and offshore wind farms.Professor Britta Bienen



2020 - 2022

2019 - 2023



2016 – 2018

  • LRF Chair and Centre of Excellence for Offshore Foundations, Lloyd’s Register Foundation

2014 – 2016

  • 'Behaviour of suction buckets in layered soils', Lloyd's Register, Aberdeen, UK


  • 'Unlocking the Mechanisms Governing Foundation Penetration into Carbonate Sand', UWA Research Collaboration Award


  • 'Centrifuge Modelling of Pile Installation', Hamburg University of Technology, Germany

More grants and publications.

Contact Professor Britta Bienen

If you are interested in research with a geotechnical focus and in working with Professor Bienen, send an email with your CV, academic transcript and, if possible, English proficiency. Applicants are expected to apply for a scholarship.