Dr. Zili Li


Dr. Zili Li is a permanent Lecturer in Civil Engineering Department at University College Cork. He holds a PhD degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, UK.  He used to be a Research Associate at the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) in the University of Cambridge, UK, and also worked at the Centre for Underground Construction and Tunnelling, Colorado School of Mines, US.

Currently, Dr. Li is the Theme Leader in Geotechnics of Civil Engineering Research Association of Ireland (CERAI). He is an active member of Geotechnical Society of Ireland and an Irish delegate in Geotechnical Society International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE).

Research Interests

  • Geotechnics and Structural Health Monitoring including for: 

    • Computational geotechnics (finite element modelling, ground constitutive model)
    • Tunnelling engineering and underground space
    • Geothermal foundation (thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) modelling)
    • Innovative monitoring technologies (distributed fibre optic sensing, wireless sensor network)
    • soil laboratory testing (peat behaviour)


Selected Publications (* denotes the corresponding author)

1. Dai, Q., Li, Z.*, (2019), Long-term mechanical performance of geothermal diaphragm walls in stiff clay, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 94, 103113

2. Feng, J., Yan, C., Ye, L., Ding, X., Zhang, J., Li, Z.* (2019) Evaluation of installation timing of initial ground support for large-span tunnel in hard rock, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 93, 103087

3. Li, Z.*, Soga, K., Kechavarzi, C. (2018), Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing of a Deep Excavation Adjacent to Pre-existing Tunnels, Geotechnique Letters, 8, 1-7

4. Li Z.*, Soga, K., Wang, F., Wright, P., Tsuno, K. (2014), “Behaviour of cast-iron tunnel segmental joint from the 3D FE analyses and development of a new bolt-spring model", Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology. 41, 176-192.

5. Soga, K., Laver, R., Li, Z.*. (2017) Long-term tunnel behaviour and ground movements after tunnelling in clayey soils, Underground Space, Vol 2, 149-167, featured on the cover page

See Dr. Li's Google Scholar Profile for full details of publications. 

Professional Activity

Dr. Li is a Funded Investigator in SFI Centre Irish Centre for Applied Geoscience (iCRAG) and an investigator in Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI).

He is the ITC Conference Grant Coordinator of the Management Committee (MC) in COST Action CA18110:  Underground Built Heritage as catalyser for Community Valorisation.

From 2016 to 2019, he has secured €316k external research grant as the Principal Investigator, and has published 31 academic papers so far. At present, there are one Marie Curie Fellowship Postdoc, two PhD students and one research master student in his research group at UCC.

Teaching Activity


Postgraduate Level: GL6021 Engineering Geology

Undergraduate Level: CE3004 Mechanics of Soil I, CE3005 Mechanics of Soil II, CE4007

Geotechnical Engineering, CE4002 Dissertation in Civil and Environmental Engineering



Zili Li

Contact Details:




Bachelor in Civil Engineering (Tongji University); PhD in Engineering (University of Cambridge)

Research Area:

Geotechnics and Structural Health Monitoring



Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Innealtóireacht Shibhialta agus Timpeallachta

University College Cork, Cork