Department of Engineering / Profiles / Professor Dick Fenner

Department of Engineering

Professor Dick Fenner BSc (Hons) PhD CEng MICE FCIWEM


Dick Fenner

Professor in Engineering Sustainability

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research group: Sustainable Development

Telephone: +44 1223 7 65626


Personal website


Research interests

Professor Fenner's current research interests include:
• Urban flood resilience in the UK

• Multi functional design and assessment of Blue- Green Infrastructure

• A systems approach to water, sanitation and sustainability issues in both developed and developing countries

• Engineering education for sustainable development

Research projects

  • PI, Multiple flood risk benefits in blue green cities (EPSRC)
  • PI, Achieving urban flood resilience in an uncertain future (EPSRC)
  • Co-I, Hidden Crisis: Unravelling past failures for future success in Rural Water Supply  (NERC)
  • Co-I  CAPABLE  Cambridge Programme to Assist Bangladesh in Lifestyle and Environmental risk reduction  (GCRF  UKRC)

Teaching activity

Teaching activity

  • Course Director for MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development (2002-2020)
  • Module leader for:

ESD 200 Sustainability Methods and Metrics;

ESD 360 Resilience and Hazard Mitigation in Future Cities ;

ESD 900 Management of Resilient Water Systems

Other positions

  • Fellow of Wolfson College
  • Member of Steering or Advisory Groups for CIRIA , BRE, Thames Water and Environment Agency
  • Guest Editor for Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A
  • Editorial Advisor for Springer Sustainable Development Goals Series and Nature Sustainability 


Dick Fenner BSc (Hons) PhD CEng MICE FCIWEM

Dick Fenner is Professor of Engineering Sustainability in Cambridge University's Engineering Department. He set up and led the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development for 18 years from 2002 to 2020. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. His research interests focus on water, sanitation and sustainability issues in both developed and developing countries, with a focus on urban drainage and water industry asset maintenance.  

His research has included published work on: the asset maintenance of sewerage infrastructure, scale laws for hydrodynamic separation, algorithms for leak detection in water mains,   sensor arrays for monitoring sewage odour, modelling UV disinfection of greywater and recycling for single home use, a simplified climate impact assessment tool to evaluate  the impact of climate change on water treatment plant operation, the impacts of coupled resource management of water, energy and land on food security. In addition he has written extensively on issues relating to engineering education. He is joint editor/author (with Charles Ainger) of Sustainable Water, a book published in February 2016 and also co-author of Sustainable Infrastructure: Principles into Practice (published by ICE Publishing in 2014). Much of his work involves adopting a systems dynamics approach so that a wide range of interdependent factors are identified and understood in relation to the implementation of infrastructure projects ,

He is currently working on research council funded projects on urban flood resilience, rural water supply in Africa and environmental hazards in Bangladesh. Dick has published over 150 journal papers, book chapters and conference papers and has served on a number of editorial panels for the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers and also on Steering Groups for the Environment Agency, Thames Water, Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE). He is a Fellow of Wolfson College and serves on the college's Carbon Reduction Committee. He is the recipient of several awards from the ICE including the George Stephenson Gold Medal, R A Carr Prize (twice: 2007 and 2020) and James Watt Medal, the Senior Moulton Medal from the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a University of Cambridge Pilkington Teaching Prize