Stephen Foster

ENG Executive
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 5059
(+61 2) 9385 6139

CSE Building (K17) Level 6, Kensington Campus

Professor and Dean, Faculty of Engineering

Research interest

Level 1: I research the behaviour of structural systems (buildings and bridges) constructed of reinforced and prestressed concrete.

Level 2: I’m particularly interested in bringing new and advanced materials technologies to the engineering of structures. My interests are in the use of high and ultra-high performance concretes, fibre-reinforced concretes and geopolymer concretes and in use of carbon fibre technologies for strengthening and repair of structures and structural systems.

Level 3: I develop physical-mechanical models for use in advanced computational and numerical tools such as FEM and for their use in the study of behaviour of concrete structures that are subjected to extreme events such as overload, fire, impact and blast loading.

Interest in engineering

Why did you get into engineering?

I actually knew I wanted to be an engineer from a very young age. I had a family history; a father who was an engineer, an uncle who was an engineer, and they were positive role models. I was always interested in mathematics and sciences and the built environment; so civil engineering and the delivery of infrastructure always interested me.

What are your research goals?

At the moment I’m looking at modelling for climate change: the behaviour of structures under extreme load states, whether fire, earthquake, or significant wind (e.g. hurricane loading events) that’s where our challenges lie. I’m also focussed on optimisation and design, using materials as efficiently as possible to develop efficient and safe structures.

What do people not understand about you do?

People often don’t understand the link between the role of science in identifying the problem and engineering in delivery of the solution to the problem.

Advice for prospective civil engineers

If you like achieving results for society; delivery of safe water supply, transport and/or structural systems, of dealing with the big issues of sustainability and the development and advancement of society through the solving of problems, then civil engineering is for you.

Lectures/Courses taught

Reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete structures

Structural mechanics and behaviour

Computations and numerical methods


Number currently in lab: 2 PhD students

Number PhD students graduated: 25

Student Projects:

Steel fibre reinforced concrete structures

Fatigue in concrete and steel fibre concrete

Numerical modelling for climate change, including durability

Low carbon and alkali activated binder concrete in structural systems

Use of steel furnace slag in geopolymer and alkali activated binder concretes

On the application of high strength steel in concrete structures

Professional Organisations and Consulting positions

Fellow, Institution of Engineers Australia

Fellow, International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib)

Honorary Member, Concrete Institute of Australia

Honorary Life Member, International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib)

Member, Standards Australia Committee BD2 “Concrete Structures”

Member Standards Committee BD90.5 "Bridge Design - Concrete"

Chairman, Standards Australia Subcommittee BD2/1 “Strength and Analysis”

Chairman, Standards Australia Subcommittee BD2/6 “Fibre Reinforced Concrete”

Chairman, Standards Australia Subcommittee BD2/9 “Geopolymer and Alkali-Activated Binder Concrete”

Member of Presidium, International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib). (2011 - )

Elected Deputy President, International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib). (2021-22)

Member, American Concrete Institute

Member representing BD2, ISO TC 71 “Concrete, Reinforced Concrete, Prestressed Concrete” President

fib Australia National Member Group (2012 - )

Member, Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code (CHBDC) Task Force S6, Fibre Reinforced Concrete.

Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Structural Concrete

Co-Editor and Chief, Computers and Concrete


Joint-winner, 2006, Faculty of Engineering prize for teaching excellence for the development of ENGG1000 “Design and Innovation”.

Awarded honorary membership Concrete Institute of Australia, 2015, “In recognition of outstanding contribution to the development and use of concrete in Australia”.

Current Grants

2022-2024: ARC Discovery Grant DP220100841, “Connections for Hybrid Steel-Timber-Concrete Structures”, (with H. Valipour), $318,000.

2020-2023: ARC Linkage Grant LP200100531, “Concrete Mixes for Durability: A Hybrid Mathematical Optimisation Approach”, (with A. Nezhad, D. Rey, D. Hocking, A. Hajimohammadi, and F. Moghaddam), $384,100.

2020-2022: ARC Discovery Grant DP200103764, “Mixed Mode Torsion-Shear-Bending Failure in SFRC Elements, $380,000


PhD, The University of New South Wales, 1993.

MEngSc., The University of New South Wales, 1987.

B.E. (Civil) (Hons), New South Wales Institute of Technology, 1983.