Ian obtained a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1968 and a PhD in 1972, both from the University of Southampton, UK.
Following three years working around the world, he joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University. In 1993, he was appointed Dean of Engineering at Victoria University and then in 1998 returned to full time consulting with Coffey Geotechnics where he was a Senior Principal. In May 2009, he accepted an appointment to the Golder Associates Chair of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.
Although his interests have covered a wide range of topics, he is probably best known for his work on soft rock. He has published and presented widely on this and other topics over the years and has undertaken substantial consulting work in Australia and overseas. He is currently leading a research group working on the application of direct geothermal energy for heating and cooling.
He has been the recipient of several teaching and research awards, and has held a number of appointments including the Founding Editor of Australian Geomechanics, Chairman of the ISSMGE Technical Committee on Soft Rock and Vice President and Board Member for Australasia for ISRM.