Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Maria Diakoumi is a Principal Lecturer in Civil Engineering in the School of Environment and Technology. She has over 10 years of both academic and industrial experience in the field of Geotechnical Engineering.  

Dr Diakoumi graduated from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, with a Diploma (MEng equivalent) in Civil Engineering in 2003 and was awarded a Ph.D from the University of Southampton, in 2007. She received a Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education in 2010. She worked as a civil engineering consultant on the design of major underground projects in London for the Mott MacDonald Group and as a part-time lecturer during her Ph.D studies (2003-2007) at the University of Southampton.

Dr Diakoumi has held several roles within the School of Environment and Technology. She has led the BEng and MEng programmes in Civil Engineering (2014-2017) as Course Leader proactively working with colleagues to develop course content, accreditation activities, and the student learning experience, and links with external bodies. She has also served as Year Tutor for the BEng and MEng programmes (L4) in Civil Engineering (2010-2013), and as a member of the Industrial Advisory Board (2014-present), School Board (2014-2017), School Academic Scrutiny Committee (2014-2017), School Management Group (2011-2013) and School Research Strategy Committee (2009-2011).

Dr Diakoumi has collaborated in various research projects which have been funded by the European Union (FP7, Interreg), the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Higher Education Academy and UKaid. She has successfully supervised three Doctorate (PhD) research degrees. She is an Editorial Board member for the International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering (2009-present) and reviews papers for a number of international journals.  She is also an external evaluator of the Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency.

She works closely with the regional groups of professional bodies, especially with their Graduate, Student and Apprentice (ICE GSA) committee to foster collaboration between the University and Industry by arranging continuing professional development sessions and site visits. She is a Chartered member (CEng) of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) and the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Approach to teaching

My teaching covers topics on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering as well as Civil Engineering practice. My teaching methods encompass lectures, tutorials, design work and laboratory classes; my teaching sessions are designed to encourage student interaction and group work and aim to cover both the fundamental underpinning theory as well as new developments in my field of expertise. I use a combination of theoretical questions and problem solving to encourage students to think critically, understand and challenge the limits of existing knowledge.

I always endeavor to enhance student understanding of how the theoretical aspects of Civil Engineering are applied into practice. To achieve this, I encourage students to always consider the physical meaning of introduced terms and I incorporate in my teaching several examples of case studies, design project work as well as visits to major projects under construction and invited lectures from the industry.

I have been nominated for the Excellence in Facilitating and Empowering Learning Award several times (in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015).

Research interests

My research interests lie in the following areas:

1)    Earth retaining structures

2)    Soil-structure interaction

3)   Onshore and offshore foundation systems

4)    Geotechnical centrifuge modelling

5)    Resilience of Geotechnical Infrastructure

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the area of Geotechnical Engineering and particularly in the areas of soil-structure interaction, design and performance of geotechnical infrastructure (onshore and offshore foundations, retaining walls, underground structures, embankments), enhancing the resilience of geotechnical infrastructure, physical and numerical modelling in Geotechnics.  

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Diploma in Civil Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

PhD, Geotechnical Engineering, University of Southampton

External positions

External Examiner MSc Civil Engineering, Birmingham City University

1 Oct 202031 Dec 2023

External Examiner BEng Civil Engineering, Birmingham City University

1 Jan 202031 Dec 2023

Editorial Board Member

1 Jan 2010 → …

External evaluator, Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency


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