Division of Natural and Built Environment

Division of Natural and Built Environment

Division of Natural and Built Environment is situated within the School of Science Engineering and Technology. 

The Division of Natural and Built Environment (NBE) includes one of the University's most active research centres: the Urban Water Technology Centre (UTWC) which focuses on knowledge transfer and applied research.

The research in NBE is aligned with the University’s Environment research theme. Our applied research is aimed at providing technological and sustainable solutions to contemporary problems. Our research and knowledge transfer expertise assists a wide range of industrial and non-industrial sectors, such as water companies and authorities, local authorities, NGOs, health boards, manufacturers and private sector companies. NBE research and consultancy also relates directly to the construction and civil engineering industry, waste management companies, environmental managers and regulators and the food/drinks industry. The expertise of staff is highly regarded by industry professionals, our staff collaborate with major companies in the UK and internationally. There is a formidable track record in combining academic skills with commercial expertise in its many projects.

There are currently three interrelated research areas in NBE. The activities are supported by three full time research officers and three technical support staff.

Environmental Technologies

The focus here is on treatment and resources recovery technologies for water, wastes and wastewaters and green infrastructure (including sustainable urban drainage systems). Research includes development of innovative technical solutions that improve sustainable management of natural resources, for example, gaining multiple benefits from the control of storm water runoff, organic waste treatment for bioenergy recovery and production of organic soil conditioner, and water and wastewater treatment for the removal of common and emerging pollutants.

Sustainable Assessment and Enhancement

This area develops and applies methods for the assessment, visualisation and enhancement of the sustainability of policies and technologies, and to address institutional and societal barriers to their uptake. Research focuses on understanding decision making process, knowledge requirements and development of indicators to enhance governance, decision support and public participation in decision making.  Projects support sustainable service provision for water service providers, national and local government, health services, city development and companies across the built and natural environment.

Structural and Geotechnical Engineering

Research in this area is focused on modelling the performance and environmental impacts of structural and geotechnical engineering systems. This includes research into the analysis of the behaviour of thin-walled structures, analysis of structures under extreme loads (blast and impact), the use of recycled construction material to improve soil properties and to maximise the sequestration of atmospheric carbon as well as the study of offshore oil and gas asset decommissioning.

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Division Leader