Department of Engineering / Profiles / Dr Dick Fenner

Department of Engineering

Dr Dick Fenner


Dick Fenner

Reader in Engineering Sustainability

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research group: Sustainable Development

Telephone: +44 1223 7 65626



Research interests

Dr Fenner's research interests include:

  • Evaluating the multiple benefits of green infrastructure in flood risk management strategies.
  • Examining the inter-relationships between water, land and energy resource issues with a specific focus on environmental vs agricultural tradeoffs in California, food security in sub-Saharan Africa, and whole energy systems the UK.
  • Water and sanitation in developing countries, with specific reference to pit latrine management in Africa.

Research projects

  • PI, Multiple flood risk benefits in blue green cities (EPSRC)
  • Co-I, Coupled Resource Analysis of  Water, Land and Energy (Foreseer  BP)
  • Co-I, Whole Systems Energy Modelling (WholeSIM  EPSRC)
  • PI, The Pit Project:  pit latrine desludging (EPSC under peer review)

Teaching activity

  • Course Director for MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development
  • Module leader for 4D15 Sustainable Water Engineering

Other positions

  • Fellow of Wolfson College
  • Member of BRE Standing Panel of Global Experts
  • Member of CIRIA Steering Groups


Dick  is a Senior Lecturer in Cambridge University's Engineering Department and is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. His research has focussed on  maintenance and rehabilitation of water industry buried infrastructure assets, and also in water and wastewater treatment processes. This has included work on the asset maintenance of sewerage infrastructure, developing scale laws for hydrodynamic separation, applying sensor arrays for monitoring sewage odour, and modelling UV disinfection of greywater and recycling for single home use. Recently he has completed work  on delivering sustainable water systems by optimising existing buried infrastructure and has been involved in developing a simplified climate impact assessment tool (SCIAT) with particular application in evaluating the impact of climate change on water treatment plant operation. He is the author of over 100 journal publications, book chapters and conference papers on aspects of urban drainage and wastewater quality as well as on engineering education for sustainable development and his new book  “Sustainable Infrastructure- Principles into Practice” will be published in October 2013, (co-authored with Charles Ainger).

Dick  is the recipient of several awards from the Institution of Civil Engineers including the George Stephenson Gold Medal, the R A Carr Prize and the James Watt Medal, and a Cambridge University Pilkington Teaching Prize. He is currently Chair of the Organising Committee for the 6th International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development to be held in Cambridge in September 2013. He is also a Fellow of Wolfson College.