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Staff Profile: Prof R A Falconer


Prof Roger A Falconer



CH2M HILL Professor of Water Management
President of International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research
Director of Hydro-environmental Research Centre (1997-2014)
Leader of Institute of Environment and Sustainability (2003-2012)


Teaching Discipline:

Architectural, Civil & Environmental Engineering


Research Theme:

Environment and Sustainability


Research Group:

Hydro-environmental Research Centre



Room S/2.42 Newport Road



+44 (0)29 2087 4280 (direct line)





Roger Falconer graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Civil Engineering from King’s College, London (1973), an MSCE from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA (1974), and a PhD and DIC from Imperial College, London (1976). He has since acquired Higher Doctorate DEng and DSc(Eng) degrees from the universities of Birmingham (1992) and London (1994) respectively.

He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1997, Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute of London in 1997 and Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales in 2011.

He is currently chair of the Civil and Construction Engineering Sub-Panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework REF2014 and was a member of the Civil Engineering Sub-Panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise RAE2008.

Prior to joining Cardiff University, he was a Lecturer in Hydraulic Engineering at the University of Birmingham (1977-86), and Professor of Water Engineering (1987-97) and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering (1993-97) at the University of Bradford. He also holds Honorary Professor appointments at the universities of Tianjin (China), Tongji (China), Sichuan University (China) and the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing.

At Cardiff his research has continued in the development, refinement and application of computer models for predicting flow, water quality and sediment and contaminant transport processes in coastal, estuarine and inland waters. He has developed three widely used computational hydro-environmental models, namely FASTER, DIVAST and TRIVAST for predicting 1D, 2D and 3D flow, pollutant and sediment transport processes in aquatic basins and, in collaboration with CH2M HILL (previously Halcrow), is developing holistic water management solutions from Cloud to Coast (C2C) through integrated model development of the complete water cycle. He has also developed CONTANK for predicting disinfection processes in water supply tanks. These models have been acquired extensively by consulting companies and government organisations, for application to over 100 hydro-environmental impact assessment studies worldwide, and by over 60 academic institutions in 18 countries for research studies. More recently he has worked with CH2M HILL in developing ISIS-2D, a computer model used for predicting two-dimensional flood water elevations and inundation extent across floodplains. His more recent research activities have extended to marine renewable energy devices and structures and global water security. In particular, he has undertaken extensive work on the hydro-environmental impact of a barrage across the Severn estuary and he is working with Dr Alan Kwan on the design of a novel tidal stream turbine, named CarBine (Cardiff TurBine).

He has edited 7 books, published over 400 papers in refereed journals and international conference proceedings and over 70 technical reports; leading to a SCI h-index of 28 and over 2100 citations (Google Scholar: h-index of 42 and over 4500 citations). He is, or has been, a member of the editorial board of several key leading international journals in his field and founded the Journal of Hydroinformatics (co-founded with Prof. M.B. Abbott), the International Journal of River basin Management, the Journal of Water Management and the Journal of Applied Water Engineering and Research. He has delivered over 30 keynote or plenary lectures at international conferences world-wide and has given lectures on his research to over 420 institutions or learned society meetings in 21 countries, including for example: Europe (Katholieke University Leuven, Belgium, Danish Hydraulics Institute), USA (University of California, Berkeley, US Navy - Environment Division), China (Tsinghua and Beijing Universities), Japan (Osaka University and Japan Society of Engineers), Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Australia and Brazil. He has also delivered a number of prestigious lectures including for example: the International Association for Hydraulic Research (IAHR) Ippen Lecture, Madrid (1991), the Institution of Civil Engineers Vernon Harcourt Lecture, London (1992), the European Dredging Association 10th Anniversary Lecture, Brussels (2003), the 35th Idris Jones Memorial Lecture, Cardiff (2008), the Royal Academy of Engineering lectures on the Severn Barrage (2007) and Global Water Security (2008), and the Parliamentary and Scientific Society (2010). He has supervised 49 PhD students to completion, acted as External Examiner for PhD candidates at over 40 universities worldwide and acted as External Examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK and overseas including for example: the University of Hong Kong and Malaya. He has wide international links; for example he has served on the scientific advisory committee of over 90 international conferences.

He has also participated extensively in TV, Radio and Press interviews, on a wide range of professional topics and projects; most notably the Severn Barrage, river and coastal flooding, bridge scour and global water security. He has entries in Who's Who, Debrett's People of Today, Marquis' Who's Who in Science and Engineering, etc. He regularly advises government agencies and international organisations on a range of water management and engineering issues and was a member of the UK Government’s ‘Expert Panel’ for the Severn Tidal Power Studies (2008-10), the ASCE Task Force on Tidal Wetlands and the International Law of the Sea Tribunal’s ‘Group of Experts’ in the Malaysia v. Singapore Land Reclamation Case (2004-05).


Professional Activities and Recognition:

Key Awards
• Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal, 1997 (Awarded for “Outstanding and demonstrated personal contributions to British engineering leading to market exploitation”)
• International Association for Hydraulic Research Ippen Award, 1991 (Awarded for 'Outstanding contributions in area of computational flow modelling of coastal and estuarine waters and environmental problems')
• Tianjin Municipal People’s Government (China) Hai He Award of Honour, 2007 (Awarded in “Support for Development of Tianjin Municipality”)
• Institution of Civil Engineers Robert Alfred Carr Prize, 2002 and 2006
• Institution of Civil Engineers Telford Premium, 1993
• International Water Association Referees Prize, 2006
• Cardiff School of Engineering Teacher of the Year Awards (Large Class Teaching),2005-06 and 2007-08

Main Academic and Learned Society Appointments
Member, Inst. of Civil Engineers, State of the Nation Water Panel (2011-12)
• Honorary Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2014-17)
• External Assessor, University of Malayia, Malaysia (2014-17)
• President, Inter. Assoc. Hydro-Environment Engineering & Research (2011-)
• Chair, Research Excellence Framework, Civil Engineer. Sub-Panel (2010-14)
• Chair, IAHR Task Force on Contribution to Global Water Security (2010-)
• External Examiner, University of Malayia, Malaysia (2009-12)
• Member, Royal Society Brian Mercer Awards Panel (2008-13)
• External Assessor, Promotions Com., Univ. of Malayia, Malaysia (2008-13)
• Member, Royal Academy of Engineering Eng. Policy Committee (2008-12)
• Chair, Marine Renewable Energy Task Group for Wales (2008-10)
• Member, Royal Academy of Engin. Pro-Active Nomination Com. (2008-09)
• Specialist Advisor, Res. Assessment Exer. Earth Science Sub-Panel(2007-08)
• Editorial Board Member, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (2007-12)
• Editorial Board Member, Journal of Hydro-environmental Research (2007-)
• British Council, Specialist Advisor Delphi–EAP Partnership (2006-12)
• External Examiner, Heriot Watt and Glasgow Universities (2006-10)
• Editorial Board, Engineer. Applications of Computational Fluid Mech. (2006-)
• External Examiner, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (2005-08)
• Guest Professor, Dept. of Mechanics, Tianjin University, China (2005-)
• Theme Leader, EPSRC UK Celebration of Research Exhibition, London (2004)
• External Examiner, Open University, Milton Keynes (2003-08)
• Member, RAEng Committee for Research and Secondment (2003-07)
• Lead Assessor, RAEng Research in Civil Engineering (2002-05)
• Member, RAEng Engineering Committee (2002-03)
• Founding Editor, Journal of River Basin Management, IAHR (2002-)
• Founding Editor, Journal of Water Management, ICE Proceedings (2003-06)
• Editor, Water and Maritime Engineering, ICE Proceedings (2001-03)
• Elected Member, ICE Council (2000-04)
• Member, Royal Academy of Engineering, Membership Panel (2000-03)
• Subject Advisor, British Council Education Links Scheme (1999-06)
• External Examiner, National University of Ireland, Galway (1999-02)
• Advisor, Association of Commonwealth Universities Fellowships (1998-03)
• Founding Editor, Journal of Hydroinformatics, IWA (1998-04)
• Elected Member, CIWEM Council (1997-03)
• External Examiner, University of Liverpool (1996-00)
• External Examiner, Queen's University, Belfast (1995-99)
• Chair, ICE Yorkshire Association (1995-96)
• Member, EPSRC Peer Review College (1994-)
• Associate Editor, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE (1994-01)
• External Examiner, University of Ulster (1992-96)
• Chair, CIWEM Tyne and Humber Branch (1991-92)
• Advisory Professor, Dept. of Env. Eng., Tongji Uni., Shanghai, China (1987-)

Main Advisory and Professional Appointments
• Member, Regional Board & Expert Panel, Hafren Power (2012-14)
• Member, Mersey Tidal Power - Design Advisory Group (2010-11)
• Member, Global Water Security Pan, Report Govt. Chief Scientist (2009-10)
• Member, Govt. Expert Panel for Severn Tidal Power Studies (2008-10)
• Expert Witness, Public Inquiry on Preston Sewage Works, Southport (2007)
• Member, National Resources Wales Flood Risk Management Com. (2006-)
• Member, Grp. of Experts Singapore Land Reclamation Study (ITLOS) (2004)
• Expert Witness, Inter. Tribunal Law of Sea, Malaysia v. Singapore (2003-05)
• Advisor, Marine Modelling Centre, Martin Ryan Instit., Galway Eire (2003-06)
• Expert Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysian Government (2003-05)
• Consultant, Tianjin Municipal Government, China (1999-)
• Member, Environment Agency Estuaries Advisory Committee (1998-08)
• Advisor, Environment Agency Anglian Flow Forecast Model Sys. (1997-98)
• Member, Environment Agency Humber Est. Advisory Committee (1996-98)
• Advisor, US Navy (Environment), Hydro-ecology of Mugu Lagoon (1995-96)
• Associate Advisor, British Council, Dev. and Training Services (1994-97)
• Expert Evaluator of Danish Hydraulic Institute, Danish Government (1995)
• Advisor, BP Chemicals Ltd., Humber Estuary EIA Study (1993-94)
• Advisor, Brit. Nuclear Fuels, Sellafield & Chapelcross EIA Studies (1993-94)
• UN Expert on Mission, Central Water & Power Research Station, India (1993)
• Advisor, Southern California Edison, Wetland Management Proj. (1992-93)
• Advisor, China Nat. Env. Protection Agency, Shanghai Sewer Proj. (1987-92)
• Expert Witness, Public Inquiry, Integrated Treatment Centre, Hull (1992)
• Advisor, EU for Marine Science and Technology Research Programme (1991)