Professor Richard Neilson

Professor Richard Neilson
Professor Richard Neilson
Professor Richard Neilson

National Decommissioning Centre Director

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272797
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 274407
Office Address

National Decommissioning Centre, North Buliding

School of Engineering


  • B.Sc. Honours degree, 1st class, in Mechanical Engineering from University of Dundee, 1981.
  • M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Dundee, 1983.
  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Dundee, 1987.

External Memberships

Reviewer for the Journal of Sound and Vibration, ASME and the I Mech E Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science.


Research Overview

I have 31 years’ experience in engineering research and development within the University sector, during which I spent four years part-time industrial secondment to an oil services company.  Most of my research has involved the application of design and dynamic analysis to solving engineering problems.  Much of this has been in the context of oil and gas, subsea engineering and decommissioning.

I have led or had substantial involvement in 11 major joint industry/University projects and have initiated or led the development of 3 major industry focused research/knowledge exchange centres (the Scottish Sensor Systems Centre, the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and the most recently the NDC).  My main focus of research since 2008 has been in aspects of decommissioning and subsea engineering and I was one of the instigators of the MSc in Decommissioning run by the University.

Current Research

My main research is currently focussed on the next stage of the underwater laser cutting project, the design of a test facility for the qualification of novel barrier materials for well plugging and abandonment and sustainable decommissioning.

P&A Isolation Verification Study, funded by the Scottish Government Decommissioning Challenge Fund, £412,606, 21/01/19 - 31/03/19, (Principal Investigator)

Underwater Laser Cutting, funded by OGTC and Proserv, £412,606, 3/09/2018 - 2/11/2019, (Principal Investigator)

Integral Process Optimization for Sustainable Offshore-Structure Dismantling Yard Operation. Royal Academy of Engineering, £58,934, 1/4/2020 - 31/03/2022, (Joint grant holder with Prof E Pavlovskaia (PI), and Drs W Afzal and C Fernandez Martin)

Funding and Grants

Major Research Grants

Load Bearing Medium Voltage Cable Termination (Phases 1 -2(D)), Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and Technip Umbilicals Ltd, £160,013, 10/4/2017-31/3/2020, (Joint grant holder with Drs M Kartal (PI) and A Karadmios)

Transforming Systems through Partnership scheme, supporting a project on the sustainable dismantling of offshore structures, Royal Academy of Engineering, £27,651, 1/4/2018 - 28/02/19, (Joint grant holder with Prof E Pavlovskaia (PI), Dr D Vega-Maza and Dr E Krupp)

To develop the engineering application knowledge to deploy the patented 'DeepBuoy' pumpable buoyancy technology. Knowledge Transfer Partnership Directorate (Scottish Funding Council, Technology Strategy Board) and Aubin Ltd.£150,733, 1/3/2016-28/2/2018, (Principal investigator with Prof A Ivanovic).

Novel Underwater Cutting System (Phase 1A). ITF project, funded by BP, Shell and Conoco Philips, £104,937, 1/8/2012-31/8/2013. (Principal investigator).

Scottish Sensor Systems Centre (Subsea workstream). SFC funded project, £525,508, 1/4/2011-31/3/2014. (Principal Investigator)

Novel Underwater Cutting System (Phase 1). ITF project, funded by BP, Shell and Conoco Philips, £239,193, 2009-2011. (Principal investigator with Professor W F Deans).

Investigation of the Design of Anchorage Head and Bond Length for Assessing Multi-strand Anchorages EPSRC grant EP/E050301/1, £267,328, 2008-2011 (Joint grant holder with Dr A. Ivanovic (Principal))

Development of an apparatus and method for neuromuscular stimulation. NESTech, £135k, 2007-2009 (Principal grant holder with Dr M. Cardinale (of Biomedical Sciences and British Olympic Association))

DEGREE – Development of fishing gears with reduced effects on the environment EC FP6 €220k. (approx £155k). 2006-2009 (Joint grant holder with Dr A. Ivanovic. (Principal))

Design and Assessment of Condition of Soil Anchorages in a Dynamic Environment using the Centrifuge Modelling Technique EPSRC grant GR/S21335/01, £266,826, 2003-2006 (Joint grant holder with Professor A. A. Rodger (Principal), Drs A. Ivanovic and A. J. Starkey and Professor M. Davies (Dundee))

Shaft and Structure Borne Noise Induced By Inverter Fed Motors on Ships, SERC/MOD grant (GR/H75596) £ 142,437 1993-1996 (Joint grant holder with Mr. R. Yacamini (principal) and Professor R. G. White (Southampton University))

Fatigue Effects in Nonlinear Systems with Clearance SERC grant (GR/J 17685) £93,300 1993-1996 (Principal grant holder, with Professor A. D. S. Barr)

Chaos Concepts in Mechanical Systems with Clearance SERC grant (GR/F 29158) £51,057 1989-1992 (Principal grant holder, with Professor A. D. S. Barr)

Major Technology Transfer/Commercialisation Grants

Short KTP programme with Ziebel UK Ltd to “To transfer engineering knowledge to develop a new product.” TSB/ Ziebel UK Ltd, £39k, 2009–2010 (Principal grant holder)

KTP programme with Hydrafit Subsea UK Ltd to “To transfer engineering knowledge to develop a new product.” TSB/Hydrafit Subsea UK Ltd, £113k, 2008–2010 (Principal grant holder)

KTP programme with Plexus Ocean Systems to “Develop an extended hold friction grip system for securing oil and gas casing and tubulars in hostile sub sea conditions”. DTI/ Plexus Ocean Systems, £124k, 2006-2008 (Joint grant holder with Drs A. Akisanya (Principal) and W. F. Deans)

KTP programme with Pipeline Technique Ltd to “Develop a cost-effective novel orbital welding system and intelligent weld design tools.” DTI/ Pipeline Technique Ltd, £204k, 2004-2008 (Principal grant holder with Drs W. F. Deans and P. F. A. MacConnell.)

Proof of Concept grant to “Develop a Variable Buoyancy Device”. Scottish Enterprise, £197k, 2004-2006 (Joint grant holder with Dr P. Bagley (Principal) of Oceanlab)

Studentship to “Advance the understanding of the dynamics of anchorage systems and in particular the use of GRANIT in the assessment of anchorage condition”. AMEC Specialist Businesses, £18k, 2003-2004 (Principal grant holder, with Dr A Ivanovi? and Professor Rodger)


Teaching Responsibilities

EG3522 Design of Mechancial Elements: Course coordinator and main contributor,  10 credit course, Level 3 BEng and MEng Mechanical Engineering Students.

EG40JM Dynamics 2, Course Coordinator and only contributor. 10-credit course, Level 4 MEng and BEng Mechanical Engineering Students.

EG4010 Engineering Project (BEng), EG4511 Individual Project (MEng): Contributor - 45/60-credit project, typically 5-8 students per year.


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications


Working Papers