Department of Engineering / Profiles / Professor Keith Seffen

Department of Engineering

Professor Keith Seffen


Keith Seffen

Professor of Engineering Mechanics

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research group: Structures

Telephone: +44 1223 7 64137



Research interests

Dr Seffen's research considers how to conceive, manufacture and model artificial shape-changing (morphing/transforming) structures for use in a variety of applications, from deployable mechanisms to multistable shells.

Research projects

  • Advanced Structures:  Non-linear, large-displacement behaviour of shells, including buckling, localisation and multistability; inextensible behaviour of ultra-thin plates and shells; textured and corrugated plates and shells; bending and membrane growth and actuation in shells.
  • Structures for the Biological Sciences:  Morphogenesis problems, including shape due to growth in natural structures; principles of growth; localisation and non-uniformity in growing structures; confined growth (packagaing) of elastic structures.
  • Structural Dynamics:  Deployment dynamics of Gossamer spacecraft.
  • Structural Theory:  Large displacement deformation and buckling of strip-like shells; wrinkling of thin membranes.

Research opportunities

Dr Seffen lectures across all four years of the Engineering Tripos, having won Departmental and University teaching prizes since 2007. He also supervises in a variety of papers for a number of Colleges.


Dr Seffen is Professor of Engineering Mechanics at Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED), where he co-directs research in the Advanced Structures Group Laboratory. He is a member of the Civil Engineering Division, where he is Head of the Structures Group (2019 -). He is an Official Fellow of Corpus Christi College, where he has been Director of Studies, undergraduate Tutor, postgraduate Tutor, Acting Tutor for Advanced Students, Deputy Senior Tutor and Acting Senior Tutor for the undergraduate cohort. Previously, he was Lecturer in Smart Structures and Materials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UMIST (1999-2001, now part of the University of Manchester) and Research Associate in the Engineering Design Centre at CUED (1997-1999). His PhD (1993-1997) was performed under the supervision of Prof. Pellegrino in the Deployable Structures Group. Keith Seffen read the Engineering Tripos at Cambridge University (1990-1993) and gained a first class degree. He was born, bred and educated in Northern Ireland.