Juan Bernal-Sanchez
Juan BernalSanchez

Dr Juan Bernal-Sanchez



Dr. Juan Bernal-Sanchez completed his first-class degree in Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (Spain) in 2013, receiving the class medal. Simultaneously, he worked in the Department of Metallic Structures, contributing to the amendment and adaptation of the Spanish code in line with Eurocode 3 (UNE EN 1993-1).

Following a two-year period at Edinburgh Napier University, Dr. Bernal-Sanchez obtained an MEng in Civil Engineering specialising in Geotechnics and Structures. His exceptional academic performance earned him the class medal and the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) prize for his dissertation project. He then completed a Ph.D. in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University in 2020.

Since 2018, Dr. Bernal-Sanchez has worked as a Lecturer in Civil & Geotechnical Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University. He has been actively involved in the preparation and delivery of the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme in Civil Engineering. He has participated in various modules, including Civil Engineering Materials, Geotechnics, Foundation Analysis and Design, Geotechnical Earthquake & Offshore Engineering, Principles of Civil Engineering, or Work-Based Learning, organised for Graduate Apprenticeship students. He has also engaged in international projects with other European universities, contributing to ICEW initiatives and teaching Soil Mechanics at Shanghai Normal University.

Dr. Bernal Sanchez's research focuses on advanced laboratory testing and numerical modeling within the field of Geotechnics. His extensive research journey, encompassing both his Ph.D. and subsequent research fellowship, has primarily concentrated on exploring alternative materials to advance a net-zero carbon infrastructure, particularly within the realm of Geotechnical Engineering. His Ph.D. thesis, titled "Cyclic Performance of Rubber-Soil Mixtures to Enhance Seismic Protection".

In collaboration with BE-ST, Highland Council, SEPA, NatureScot, H&IE, and Heriot-Watt University, Dr. Bernal Sanchez's recent work aligns with the overarching goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions. Recognising the significance of peatlands as a crucial asset in reducing annual carbon emissions, particularly in Scotland where 20-25% of the land is covered by peat, his investigation seeks alternative building foundation approaches to minimise peat disturbance and thereby reduce the associated carbon emissions linked to organic matter degradation.

His research findings have been widely disseminated through publications in international journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Bernal Sanchez's exemplary work has earned him various prizes for his research, and he recently secured ERIES (Horizon) funding. This funding enables him to conduct experimental on-site testing, focusing on assessing the feasibility of implementing retrofitted rubber-trenches to mitigate the impact of seismic motions on critical civil infrastructure.

Research Groups



Editorial Activity

  • Neumáticos contra los terremotos
  • Indonesia earthquake: how scrap tyres could stop buildings collapsing
  • Neumáticos reciclados para evitar el derrumbe de edificios


Fellowships and Awards

  • Poster and Presentation Competition 2017 organised by ICE Scottish Geotechnical Group
  • Newton Bhabha PhD Placements Programme granted by British Council in collaboration with Department of Science & Technology
  • 2017 Public Speaking Competition organised by Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Best oral presentation at the 14th BGA Young Geotechnical Engineers’ Symposium (2016)
  • Institute of Civil Engineers Prize
  • 2015 University Medal Winner in Civil Engineering


Media Activity

  • Terremoto en Indonesia: neumáticos reciclados para evitar el derrumbe de edificios
  • Edinburgh Napier Impact Magazine. From cycle paths to seismic maths



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