NUS Logo - back to NUS homepageDepartment of Civil Engineering

PHOON Kok Kwang


Distinguished Professor & Head of Department

1-page bio (PDF 92 KB)


Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
National University of Singapore

Blk E1A, #07-03, 1 Engineering Drive 2
Singapore 117576
Tel: (65) 6516 6783

Fax: (65) 6779-1635


International Journal of Georisk (Taylor & Francis)

Centre for Soft Ground Engineering

Geotechnical Safety Network




Photo: Award & Recognition Ceremony 2013 (courtesy of Gao Hongchen)


KK Phoon is Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore. His main research focus is related to risk and reliability in geotechnical engineering.  His research has garnered more than 1000 cites (h-index 17) in ISI, 1600 cites (h-index 21) in Scopus, 3000 cites (h-index 28) in Google.


He is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the highest and most prestigious technical paper award bestowed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Norman Medal in 2005 and the highest research award bestowed by the National University of Singapore, the Outstanding Researcher Award in 2010. He has delivered more than 100 presentations in 23 countries 66 cities around the world, including the inaugural S.L. Lee Lecture (2013) and 11th J.E. Jennings Memorial Lecture (2013).


KK Phoon is the founding editor-in-chief of Georisk, an international journal dedicated to Assessment and Management of Risk for Engineered Systems and Geohazards. He is the book editor of Reliability-Based Design in Geotechnical Engineering (Taylor & Francis). He was elected Fellow of ASCE in 2008, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) in 2009, and Fellow of Academy of Engineering Singapore in 2012.


Education/professional qualifications
  • Professional Engineer (PEng), Singapore
  • ASEAN Chartered Professional Engineer
  • Fellow, Academy of Engineering Singapore
  • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Fellow, Institution of Engineers Singapore
  • PhD, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (USA)

  • Professor, National University of Singapore

  • Senior tutor, Lecturer, Assistant Professor/tenured, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore

  Honours & Awards
  • Distinguished Professor, National University of Singapore, 2013
  • Outstanding Geotechnical Engineer, Geotechnical Society of Singapore, 2012
  • Academy of Engineering Singapore, 2012
  • Annual Teaching Excellence Award (2009/2010, 2010/2011)
  • Engineering Educator Award (2010/2011, 2011/2012)
  • Provost's Chair Professor, National University of Singapore, 2011-2013
  • Kwang-Hua (光华) Chair Professor, Tongji University, China, 2010
  • Outstanding Researcher Award, National University of Singapore, 2010
  • Hogentogler Award, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 2007
  • Norman Medal, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2005

Professional Activities
  • Editor-in-chief, Georisk (Taylor & Francis)
  • Editorial Board Member, Structural Safety (Elsevier)
  • Advisory Board Member, International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics (John Wiley & Sons)
  • Advisory Board Member, Environmental Geotechnics (ICE)
  • Board Member, International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IACMAG), 2009 -
  • Executive Board Member, International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability, 2013 -
  • Strategic Advisory Board Member, Taiwan Building Technology Centre, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology

  Recent conferences
  • Conference Chair, International Symposium on Advances in Foundation Engineering (ISAFE), 5-6 December 2013, Singapore. website

  • International Scientific Committee, International Scientific Committee, International Symposium on Reliability Engineering and Risk Management (ISRERM’2014), Taipei, Taiwan, 20-24 May 2014.
  • International Advisory Committee, Fourth International Conference on Geotechnical Engineering for Disaster Mitigation and Rehabilitation (4GEDMAR), 16-18 September 2014, Kyoto, Japan.
  • International Scientific Committee, Second International Conference on Vulnerability and Risk Analysis and Management (ICVRAM2014) & Sixth International Symposium on Uncertainty Modelling and Analysis (ISUMA2014), University of Liverpool, UK, 29 June – 2 July 2014.
  • International Advisory Committee, 14th International Conference of IACMAG (International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics, 21-25 September 2014, Kyoto, Japan.

  Teaching areas
  • Foundation Engineering
  • Reliability and Decision Analysis
  • Analytical & Numerical Methods in Foundation Engineering
  • Pile Foundations

  Research Interest
  • Reliability-based design for foundations
  • Statistical characterisation of geovariability
  • Iterative solution of large linear systems
  • Numerical limit analysis


  Recent Publications
  1. Ching, J. Y. & Phoon, K. K., “Probability Distribution For Mobilized Shear Strengths of Spatially Variable Soils Under Uniform Stress States”, Georisk, 7(3), Sep 2013, 209-224.

    Santoso, A., Phoon, K. K. & Tan, T. S., “Estimating Strength of Stabilized Dredged Fill using Multivariate Normal Model”, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE, 139(11), Nov 2013, 194-1953.

  2. Ching, J. Y. & Phoon, K. K., “Effect of Element Sizes in Random Field Finite Element Simulations of Soil Shear Strength”, Computers and Structures, 126, Sep 2013, 120-134.

  3. Phoon, K. K., Ching, J. Y., Chen, J. R., “Performance of Reliability-based Design Code Formats for Foundations in Layered Soils”, Computers and Structures, 126, Sep 2013, 100-106.

  4. Chaudhary, K. B., Phoon, K. K. & Toh, K. C., “Effective Block Diagonal Preconditioners for Biot’s Consolidation Equations in Piled-raft Foundations”, International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, 37(8), June 2013, 871-892.

  5. Zhang J., Huang, H. W. & Phoon, K. K., “Application of Kriging-based Response Surface Method for System Reliability of Soil Slopes”, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE, 139(4), April 2013, 651-655.

  6. Ching, J. Y. & Phoon, K. K., “Modeling Parameters of Structured Clays as a Multivariate Normal Distribution”, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 49(5), May 2012, 522-545.

  7. Ching, J. Y., Chen, J. R., Yeh, J. Y. & Phoon, K. K., “Reducing Uncertainties in Friction Angles of Clean Sands”, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE, 138(2), Feb 2012, 217-229.


Selected editorial/authored works

  1. Phoon K. K. & Goh, S. H. (Guest Editors), Special Issue on “Information Technology for Geotechnical Engineering”, Journal of Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 2013  (Special Journal Issue)

  2. Phoon K. K. & Ching, J. Y. (Guest Editors), Special Issue on “Advances in Reliability-Based Design in Geotechnics”, Journal of GeoEngineering, 2010  (Special Journal Issue)

  3. Withiam, J. L., Phoon, K. K., Hussein, M. H., Foundation Engineering in the Face of Uncertainty, Geotechnical Special Publications 229, ASCE, Reston, 2013. (GSP)

  4. Phoon, K. K., Beer, M., Quek, S. T. & Pang, S. D. (Editors), Proceedings, Fifth Asian-Pacific Symposium on Structural Reliability and its Applications, Research Publishing, 2012, 780 p. (ISBN-13: 978-981-07-2218-0 / ISBN-10: 981-07-2218-4)

  5. Phoon, K. K., Goh, S. H., Shen, R. F. & Zhu H. H. (Editors), Proceedings, International Symposium on Advances in Ground Technology and Geo-Information, Research Publishing, 2012, 612 p. (ISBN-13: 978-981-07-0188-8 / ISBN-10: 981-07-0188-8)

  6. Juang, C. H., Phoon, K. K., Puppala, A. J., Green, R.A. & Fenton, G. A., Georisk 2011 - Geotechnical Risk Assessment and Management, Geotechnical Special Publications 224, ASCE, Reston, 2011. (GSP)

  7. Phoon K. K. (Editor), Reliability-Based Design in Geotechnical Engineering: Computations and Applications, Taylor & Francis, 2008,  544 p. (ISBN 978-0-415-39630-1) (book)

  8. Phoon, K. K., Fenton, G. A., Glynn, E. F., Juang, C. H., Griffiths, D. V., Wolff, T. F. & Zhang, L. M. (Editors), Probabilistic Applications in Geotechnical Engineering, Geotechnical Special Publications 170, ASCE, Reston, 2007. (GSP)


Updated 16 Nov 2013