Abir Al-Tabbaa

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Abir Al-Tabba
Abir Al-Tabbaa at World Economic Forum.jpg
Abir Al-Tabbaa speaks on self-healing concrete at the World Economic Forum in 2016
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
University of Bristol
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Birmingham
University of Cambridge
ThesisPermeability and stress-strain response of speswhite kaolin (1987)

Abir Al-Tabbaa CEng FICE is a Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. She works on intelligent materials for infrastructure. She is the Director of the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment Doctoral Training Centre.

Early life and education

Al-Tabbaa studied at the University of Bristol.[1] She completed her Master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Cambridge, working on the stress-strain responses of Kaolinite. Her Master's research considered the anisotropy of clay.[2] She obtained her PhD in 1987 with a dissertation entitled Permeability and stress-strain response of speswhite kaolin.[3] After graduating Al-Tabbaa worked at Ove Arup & Partners as a geotechnical engineer. She was involved with the construction of the Charing Cross railway station and Ludgate Hill railway station.[4] In 1991 she joined the University of Birmingham as a lecturer.[5]


Al-Tabbaa returned to the University of Cambridge in 1997 and was made a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College.[5] Her work concentrates on the development and testing of materials for civil engineering. She is interested in low-carbon infrastructure and the remediation of contaminated land.[6][7] She also works on soil mix technology and water valorisation.[8] She has developed new techniques for the characterisation of soils.[5] She has over 300 publications.[9] In 2003 she was awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers' Mallik Medal for her work on the five-year soil treatment mixing work at West Drayton.[10]

She was part of a £1.67 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council project that established the Centre of Excellence on Intelligent Construction Materials to reduce the cost of infrastructure maintenance of future construction.[11] The project was followed up with an EPSRC Programme Grant on resilient materials for life.[12] Amongst other biomimetic materials, the collaboration developed self-healing concrete.[13] She spoke about their work at the World Economic Forum in 2016.[14][15]

Academic service

She has written for the New Civil Engineer.[16] Al-Tabbaa has served on the British Geotechnical Association Executive Committee, the Institution of Civil Engineers' Geotechnical Advisory Panel and the Grounded Improvement Advisory Panel.[4] In 2014 she became the Director of the Future Infrastructure and Built Environment Doctoral Training Centre. She serves on the editorial board of the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering.[17] She is also the UK representative for the Self-healing as Preventative Repair of Concrete Structures (SARCOS) European Cooperation in Science and Technology Action.[18] She was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2014, recognising her significant contributions to both research and education in civil engineering.[19] In 2016 she was part of a group of academics from the University of Cambridge who wrote to The Daily Telegraph to stress the need for European funding for scientific research.[20] Al-Tabbaa appeared on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire programme The Naked Scientists.[21]


  • 2010 Rainfall Trends in India and Their Impact on Soil Erosion: Rainfall Trends in India and Their Impact on Soil Erosion[22]
  • 2005 Stabilisation/Solidification Treatment and Remediation[10]


  1. [email protected] "Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa, CEng, FICE — Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group". www-geo.eng.cam.ac.uk (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  2. A, Al Tabbaa (1984-09-16). "Anisotropy of clay". publications.eng.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  3. A, Al Tabbaa (1987-09-16). "Permeability and stress-strain response of speswhite kaolin". publications.eng.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa - Networks of evidence and expertise for public policy". www.csap.cam.ac.uk (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Falciglia, Pietro Paolo; Al-Tabbaa, Abir; Vagliasindi, Federico G. A. (2014-03-19). "Development of a Performance Threshold Approach for Identifying the Management Options for Stabilisation/Solidification of Lead Polluted Soils". Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management (in English). 22 (2): 85–95. doi:10.3846/16486897.2013.821070. ISSN 1648-6897.
  6. "Abir Al-Tabbaa | Department of Engineering". www.eng.cam.ac.uk (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  7. "Authors". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  8. "2015 Newsletter, Autumn". Issuu (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  9. "Publications by Prof. Abir Al-Tabbaa | Department of Engineering". www3.eng.cam.ac.uk (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tabbaa, Abir Al; Stegemann, Julia A., eds. (2005-04-14). Stabilisation/Solidification Treatment and Remediation: Proceedings of the International Conference on Stabilisation/Solidification Treatment and Remediation, 12-13 April 2005, Cambridge, UK (in English) (1st ed.). Leiden: CRC Press. ISBN 9780415374606.
  11. "UKRI: Abir Al-Tabbaa". UKRI. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  12. "Programme Grant Management Board - M4L". M4L (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  13. "Designing self-healing concrete with shape memory". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  14. World Economic Forum (2016-02-19), Self-healing concrete for low-carbon infrastructure | Abir Al-Tabbaa, retrieved 2018-11-29
  15. "The concrete that heals its own cracks". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  16. "Abir Al-Tabbaa | Freelance | New Civil Engineer". www.newcivilengineer.com (in English). Archived from the original on 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  17. "Aims & Scope and Editorial Board | Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering". ascelibrary.org (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  18. [email protected] "About SARCOS — Self-healing As prevention Repair of COncrete Structures". www.sarcos.eng.cam.ac.uk (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  19. "Institution of Civil Engineers honour for Dr Abir Al-Tabbaa". Cambridge Network (in English). Archived from the original on 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  20. "Letters: Senior members of Cambridge University stress the importance of EU funding". The Telegraph (in English). 2016-05-30. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  21. "Concrete that can repair itself | Interviews | Naked Scientists". www.thenakedscientists.com (in English). Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  22. Pal, Indrani; Al-Tabbaa, Abir (2010-07-29). Rainfall Trends in India and Their Impact on Soil Erosion: Rainfall Trends in India and Their Impact on Soil Erosion (in English). LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. ISBN 9783838385709.

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