awarded in 2015

Robin Fell

Robin studied for his BE (Civil) and M.Eng.Sc. Degrees at the University of Queensland from 1961 to 1966. He worked with the Australian Government in Melbourne on hydropower and dams projects in Papua New Guinea for a total of 9 years, and with consulting geotechnical engineers Coffey and Hollingsworth from 1970-71 and Coffey and Partners from 1977-1985. There he worked mainly on landslides, tailings dams and embankment dams. He joined the University of New South Wales in 1985 as Visiting Professor, then Professor of Geotechnical Engineering.

He has with colleagues at UNSW, obtained sponsorship from a number of ANCOLD members, and from dam owners in Canada, USA and Sweden and Australian Research Council to undertake research into rippability of rock, landslide risk related topics, mechanics of large landslides, deformation behaviour of landslides , internal erosion and piping of embankment dams and their foundations, dam filters, deformation behaviour of dams, numerical modelling of cracking of dams, erosion of unlined spillways in rock and development of methods for quantitative risk analysis of dams.

He retired from UNSW in 2005 and is an Emeritus Professor of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW. He works as a Consultant through the UNSW Consulting Company Unisearch. He consults mainly in a peer review role in embankment dam engineering, geotechnical engineering of concrete dams, and risk assessment for dams and landslides. He has worked on more than 100 dams in Australia including many of the largest dams in the country and a number of major dam upgrades. He was a lead member of the team for development of the system for estimating the annual probability of failure by internal erosion and piping for dams and levees (The “Piping Toolbox”); Member of review board for the Gatun Spillway duplication in Panama, Member of the Geotechnical Advisory Board for the Panama Canal Authority; and on the Expert Engineering Panel to advise on the mechanics of internal erosion of Bennett and Mica Dams for BC Hydro. He has also participated as a peer review consultant on Portfolio Risk assessments for several Australian Dam Owners.

He has contributed to the development of ANCOLD Guidelines relating to Tailings Dams, Design Criteria for Concrete Gravity Dams; Design of Dams and Appurtenant Structures for Earthquake; and Risk Assessment. He was one of the lead authors of the ICOLD Bulletin on Internal Erosion of dams, dikes and their foundations. He was Chair of JTC-1, the ISSMGE-IAEG-ISRM Joint Technical Committee on Landslides and Engineered Slopes from 2002-2005 and while in that position was a lead author of International Guidelines for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning.

He has more than 100 publications relating to dams and landslides including books “Geotechnical Engineering of Embankment Dams”, and “Geotechnical Engineering of Dams” 2005, and 2015 second edition.