Professor Ruth Falconer

Head of Division

School School of Design and Informatics

Department Division of Computing and Maths

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8459


Professional Qualifications:

1998 BSc Physics                                                                 University of Dundee  

1999 MSc (Distinction) Information Technology                University of Abertay Dundee

2006 PhD Ecological Modelling                                            University of Abertay Dundee

2010 PGCERT HET                                                               University of Abertay Dundee             


Professional Employment History:

2014 - present              Senior Lecturer in Computational Modelling and Visualisation

2006 - 2014                   Lecturer in Modelling and Visualisation

1999 - 2006                   Teaching Fellow, School of Computing and Creative Technologies


Professor Ruth Falconer Head of Division: Computing and Mathematics in the School of Design & Informatics.

I currently teach Data Structures and Parallel Programming (GPGPU) and have previously taught 3D graphics, statistics and programming to a range of cohorts. I hold a BSc in Physics and PhD in Ecological Modelling and my ongoing research interests are the development of modelling and visualisation frameworks to understand complex systems. My innovations include developing the first theoretical model and visualisation framework for indeterminate organisms. These modelling and visualisation skills have been applied across disciplines to develop interactive visual simulations of urban sustainability, heat loss and gain from built environment and precision agriculture. I am interested in applying games technology including games engines, graphics hardware and related infrastructure, to develop playable models of complex systems. Current areas of application are the Water-Energy-Food-nexus, Microbial Ecology and Health and Social Care. I am an editorial board member for Scientific Reports, have over 55 peer reviewed articles and have secured research income approaching 1M.

CMP201 Data Structures & Algorithms I

CMP202 Data Structures & Algorithms II

I also supervise Hons and MSc projects in the areas of: Procedural Content Generation, Complex Systems in Games, Parallel Programming and GPGPU applications.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Parna P, Meyer K, Falconer R  (2017) GPU Driven Finite Difference WENO Scheme for Real Time Solution of the Shallow Water Equations. Computers and Fluids (Accepted).

Hoolohan C, McLachlan C,  Larkin, A, Falconer R,  Soutar I, Suckling J,  Druckman, A., et al. Engaging stakeholders in research to address water-energy-food (WEF) nexus challenges. Sustainability Science (Accepted).

Stojanovic V, Falconer RE , Issacs J, Gilmour D, Blackwood, D, Wilson J. (2017) Streaming and 3D Mapping of Agri-Data on Mobile Devices. The Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 13:188-199.

Houston A, Otten W, Falconer RE, Moga O, Baveye P & Hapca S. (2017) Quantification of the pore size distribution of soils: Assessment of existing software using tomographic and synthetic 3D images. Geoderma 299:73-82.

Fazey, I.,Moug, P.,Allen, S.,Beckmann, K.,Blackwood, D.,Bonaventura, M.,Burnett, K., Falconer RE,  et al. (2017). Transformation in a changing climate: a research agenda. Climate and Development

Falconer R, Otten W & White N (2015) Toward modeling the resistance and resilience of "Below-ground" fungal communities: a mechanistic and trait-based approach, Advances in Applied Microbiology, 93 1-44.

Vogel LE, Makowski M, Garnier P, Vieublé-Gonod L, Coquet Y, Raynaud X, Nunan N, Chenu C, Falconer R, Pot V. (2015) Modeling the effect of soil meso- and macropores topology on the biodegradation of a soluble carbon substrate. In Press, Accepted Manuscript. Advances in Water Resources.

Falconer RE, Battaia G, Schmidt S, Baveye P, Chenu C, Otten W (2015) Microscale Heterogeneity Explains Experimental Variability and Non-Linearity in Soil Organic Matter Mineralisation. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0123774. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123774

Falconer, R.E.; Houston, A.N. (2015) Visual Simulation of Soil-Microbial System Using GPGPU Technology. Computation 2015, 3, 58-71.

Blackwood D J, Gilmour D J, Isaacs J P, Kurka T, Falconer R E, (2014), "Sustainable urban development in practice: the SAVE concept" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 41(5) 885 – 906

E.V. Taguas, Ruth Falconer and A. M. Tarquis (2014). Engineering education on geosciences in a changing
world. European Journal of Engineering Education, 1-4.

Juarez, S., N. Nunan, V. Pouteau, A. Duday, S. Schmidt, S. Hapca, R. E. Falconer, W. Otten, C. Chenu. (2013). To what extent is microbial decomposition of organic carbon resistant to experimental modifications of soil structure? European Journal of Soil Biology. 58, 81-90.

Gilford, J., Falconer, R.E., Wade, R., Scott-Brown, K.C. (2013) 3D visualisation and artistic imagery to enhance interest in 'hidden environments' - new approaches to soil science education. International Journal Engineering  Education . 1-16.

Isaacs, J. P., Blackwood, D. J., Gilmour, D., & Falconer, R. E. (2013). Real-Time Visual Simulation of Urban Sustainability. International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), 2(1), 20-42.

Savage, A., Katz, E., Eberst, A., Falconer, R.E., Houston, A., Harrison, D.J and  Bown, J.  (2013). Characterising the tumour morphological response to therapeutic intervention. Journal of Disease Models & Mechanisms 6 (1), 252-260.

Cazelles, K., W. Otten, P.C. Baveye, and R.E. Falconer. (2013). Soil fungal dynamics: Parameterization and sensitivity analysis of modelled physiological processes, soil architecture and carbon distribution.. Ecological Modelling 248, 165-173.

Rangel, D., Superak, C., Bielschowsky, M., Falconer, R.E. and Baveye, P. (2012). Rapid prototyping and “3D printing” of experimental equipment in soil science research. Soil Science society of America Journal Vol. 77 No. 1, p. 54-59.

Otten, W., Pajor, R., Schmidt, S., Baveye, P.C., Hague, R., Falconer, R.E. (2012). Combining X-ray CT and 3D printing technology to produce microcosms with replicable, complex pore geometries. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 51, pp. 53-55.

Falconer, R. E., A. Houston, W. Otten, and P. Baveye. (2012). Emergent behaviour of fungal dynamics: influence of soil architecture and moisture distribution. Soil Science, 177 (2), pp. 111-119.

Kravchenko, A., Falconer, R.E., Grinev, D., and Otten, W. (2011). Fungal colonization in soils of contrasting managements: modelling fungal growth in 3D pore volumes of undisturbed soil samples. Ecological Applications 21(4), 2011. pp 1202-1210.

Falconer, R.E., J. L. Bown, N. A. White and J. W. Crawford. 2011. Linking individual behaviour to community scale patterns in fungi. Fungal Ecology. 4(1): pp.76-82.

Isaacs, J. P., D. J. Gilmour, D. J. Blackwood, and R. E. Falconer. 2011. Immersive and Non immersive 3D virtual city: Decision support tool for urban sustainability, Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon), Vol. 16, pg. 151-162,

Isaacs, J., R.E.  Falconer, D Blackwood, and D Gilmour. (2011). Enhancing urban sustainability using 3D visualisation. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  Urban Design and Planning, 164, 163 – 173.

McAdam E, Falconer RE, Bown JL, Crawford, JW (2011) Fungi as metaphors for resource management. Adaptive 2011. The Third International Conference on Adaptive and Self-Adaptive Systems and Applications 20-24.

Bown, J., Fee, K., Sampson, A., Shovman, M., Falconer, R., Goltsov, A., Issacs, J., Robertson, P., Scott-Brown, K., and Szymkowiak, A. (2010). Information visualisation and the arts-science-social science interface. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Intelligent Interactive Technologies and Multimedia pp9-17, ACM.

Falconer R.E., J.L. Bown, E. McAdam, P. Perez-Reche, A. T. Sampson, J. van den Bulcke and N.A. White (2010) Modelling fungal colonies and communities: challenges and opportunities. IMA Fungus Volume 1 No.2: 155-159.

Pajor, R.  Falconer, R., Hapca, S., and W. Otten. (2010). Modelling and quantifying the effect of heterogeneity in soil physical conditions on fungal growth. Biogeosciences, 7, 3731-3740.

Rasheed, T., E. Hart, J. Bown, and R. E. Falconer (2010). Symbiotic Cognitive Networks: A Proposal. Artificial immune systems. 9th international conference, ICARIS 2010, Edinburgh, UK, July 26˜29, 2010. Proceedings. Berlin: Springer (ISBN 978-3-642-14546-9/pbk). Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6209, 326-328.

Falconer, R., and M. Shovman (2010) Visualizing complex systems. PerAdaMagazine towards pervasive adaptation.  doi 10.2417/2201009.003295.

Xu, H., Falconer, R.E., Bradley, D.,  and J. W. Crawford (2009) FUNNet – A Novel Biologically-Inspired Routing Algorithm Based on Fungi. IEEE - CTRQ '09. Second International Conference on Communication Theory, Reliability, and Quality of Service, 2009.

Falconer, R. E., J. L. Bown, N. A. White, and J. W. Crawford (2008). Modelling Interactions in Fungi; The Royal Society Interface. 5(23), 603-615.

Falconer, R.E.,  J. Bown, E. Hart and J. Timmis (2008). A New Paradigm for SpeckNets: Inspiration from Fungal Colonies. 2nd IEEE International Conference on Self-adaptive and Self-organizing Systems. SASOWorkshops, 90-95.

Isaacs, J., Falconer, R. E., and D. Blackwood (2008) "A Unique Approach to Visualising Sustainability in the Built Environment," IEEE VIS International Conference Visualisation. pp. 3-10.

Falconer, R.E., J. L. Bown, N. A. White, and J. W. Crawford (2007). Biomass Recycling: a key to efficient foraging; Oikos, 116 ( 9): 1558–1568.

Blair, J., R. E. Falconer, A. C. Milne, I. M. Young, and J. W. Crawford (2007) Modeling Three-Dimensional Microstructure in Heterogeneous Media. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 2007; 71: 1807-1812.

Falconer, R.E., J. L. Bown, N. A. White, and J. W. Crawford (2005). Biomass Recycling and the origin of phenotype in fungal mycelia; Proceedings Royal Society, 272(1573):1727-34.

Conference Papers

Falconer, R, Gilmour, D and Vagra, L. Models and Decision Support Tools for understanding and managing the WEF NEXUS . Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBS), London, UK, 31st August-2 September 2016.

Vagra, L. and Falconer, R. Methods to learn about WEF Nexus challenges. Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBS), London, UK, 31st August- 2 September 2016.

Stojanovic, T.A.  Jackson, M. Gilmour, D. Falconer, R. Stojanovic, V. Booth, L. Duck, R.W. (2016) The physical characteristics and features of the Forth-Tay marine planning region and their importance for seascape characterisation. Tay Estuary Forum Occasional paper Series, 6. Tay Estuary Forum: Dundee.

Stojanovic, V., R. Falconer, J. Isaacs, D. Gilmour, and D. Blackwood. "INTERACTIVE VISUALISATION TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT IN LAND USE SCENARIO PLANNING." Management 1373: 1382.

V. Stojanovic, D. Blackwood, D. Gilmour, J.P. Isaacs, R.E. Falconer, "Comparison of Advanced and Standard Real-Time 3D Rendering Methods for Interactive Landscapes (Short Paper Version)," iv, pp.539-544, 2013 17th International Conference on Information Visualisation, 2013

Illsley, B., Duffy, A., Rowan, J., Blackwood, D., Bebbington, J., Horner, M., and Falconer, R. (2013). TAYplan: Strategic Land Use Change 2035-2050. Available from

Gilford, J, Falconer, RE., Wade, R & Scott-Brown, KC. (2011). Promoting interest in soil sustainability issues using interactive virtual environments. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 13, EGU2011-13507, 2011

Blackwood, D., Isaacs J., Gilmour, D and Falconer R (2012). Integrating Sustainability in Water Sensitive Urban Design through Dynamic visualisation and Modelling. In Proc. 7th International Conference on Water Sensitive Urban Design, Feb 2012, Melbourne, Australia.

More Information


Research (> 732K) and Consultancy (>37K) Awards

2017– 2019 Principal Investigator (Abertay) on Modelling the resilience of below-ground microbial communities. RCUK (NERC): £220K; Abertay share £25K. NE/P014208/1.

2016 – 2019 Principal Investigator (Abertay) on Modelling the Water-Energy-Food Nexus: STEPPING UP. RCUK: (EPSRC): 1.4M; Abertay share £178K. Work Package Leader. EP/N00583X/1.

2015 – Present    Co-Investigator on Sustainable methods to supply clean water to Scotland’s rural communities. CREW: £35K.

2014 – Present     Principal Investigator on AGRI-AP: Applied Graphics and Rendering Innovation for Agricultural Precision. TSB £17K

2013 – Present   Falconer RE, Isaacs JP, Gilmour D & Blackwood D.    Building Information Models (BIM) and Interactive Visualisation. SFC - (HEFC) £10,000

2013 – Present   Falconer RE, Isaacs JP, Gilmour D & Blackwood D.   Investigating web based game technologies (webGL and openCL) for generating optimized fertilizer and lime maps. SAGES  £11,434

2013 - Present    Falconer RE, Isaacs JP, Gilmour D & Blackwood D.     3D visualization for TAYplan strategic landuse planning. TayPlan £8,000

2013 – Present   Blackwood D, Gilmour D, Isaacs J & Falconer R.       Scottish Water Sector Overview Map for CREW (Center of Expertise for Water. CREW  £60,000.

2013 – 2013       Falconer RE, Isaacs JP, Gilmour D & Blackwood D    Maximising passive solar gain: A physically based simulation and rendering approach. SFC - (HEFC) £10,000

2013 – Present  Co-Investigator on Development of a potato breeding interactive decision-making  tool: combining sensory and consumer science data (INTERFACE-AGRICO £60,000)

2012 - Present      Principal Investigator on developing and testing geovisualisation approaches for understanding multiple benefits from Scottish agricultural systems. Scottish Government and UAD funded (£74,000).

2012 - Present      Undergraduate Carnegie scholarship -  GPGPU implemenation of microbial dynamics model (£1000)

2012 - Present  Nuffield scholarship - Promoting 3D quantification of microbial biomass with respect to physical  architecture. (£1000)

2009 - Present       Co-Investigator, Multiscale Modelling and Emergent Properties of Microbial Degradation of Soil Organic Matter. ANR - France  (671,902 euro). 

2009 - Present      Principal Investigator on developing an Agent based Model for the effect of land management decisions on the sustainability of urban/rural interface. Scottish Alliance of Geoscience, Environment and Society: SAGES (£50,000).

2011 - Date          Simulation and Visualisation of  St Andrews Sand Dunes, for Fife Countryside Trust (£29,000)   .

2011 - Date          Sustainability Assessment and Visualisation of the Dunfermline Edge Development, for Fife Council. (£10,000).

2009 - Present      Co-investigator, Sustainability Enhancement and Visualisation of Dundee Waterfront, for Dundee City Council (£40,000). 

2008 - Present      Co-investigator, DC Noise – Demographic Change: New opportunities in shrinking Europe, EU Interreg project (UAD share £102,000). 

2008 - Present      Co-Investigator for developing an interactive simulation and visualisation tool for urban sustainability (UAD funded, £50,000) 

2008 - 2011          Co-Investigator, Phosphates Life Cycle Management, for UK Water Industry Research Limited.  Lead Researchers - Consultants Atkins Ltd. (UAD share, £15,000).  

2007 -  2011        Co-Investigator on the EPSRC project “Biological metaphors and crisis: building self healing, emergence and resilience into critical infrastructures” (EP/E062865: £366,002).  

2007 -  2008         Co-Investigator on investigation into fungal-inspired network protocols.           Norman Fraser Design Trust (£9,000).

2004                       “Inside Nature using Xray micro Computed tomography”. BBSRC: £2000


Editorial & Reviewer Roles

  • Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports  (Jan 2015 - Present)
  • Associate Editor for SSSAJ: Soil Physics (Jan 2014 - Present)
  • Guest Editor Special Issue - Engineering Education on Geosciences in a Changing World - In Journal of Engineering Education (2013).
  • Expert reviewer for  European Commission: Marie Sk¿odowska -Curie Innovative Training Network Grants: Engineering (Simulation and Rendering) Panel.
  • Annually review 12-16 manuscripts for peer reviewed journals, 2-3 RCUK proposals and book chapters.

Invited Talks

RE Falconer & V Stojanovic. (2015) Computational Modelling and Visualisation of Environmental Systems. 5/10/2015. CEH Edinburgh.

RE Falconer. (2015) SAVE: Data, Information and Viz Tools. ESCOM Conference 7-8th May 2015. University of Edinburgh. 

RE Falconer. (2014) A Modelling and visualization framework for understanding ‘below-ground ‘fungal  ecology. FIRA Institute Henan China.

RE Falconer (2014) Modelling and visualization framework for understanding ‘below-ground ‘fungal        ecology. SGM Annual Meeting. Loughborough. 

Falconer, RE. Pore scale modelling of microbial degradation. Workshop in 3D Imaging and Applications in Geosciences, University of Abertay Dundee  8/10/2013.

Blackwood, D & Falconer. RE - A monitoring framework for sustainable development. Improvement Services Scottish Government.  18/1/2013 

 Blackwood D & Falconer RE. Stakeholder Engagement via Immersive Visualisation. Exeter University, 10th Jan 2012

 Falconer, RE, Battaia, G and Otten,W. (2012) A pore scale model of Soil Organic Matter (SOM) dynamics and microbial colonisation. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 14, 8182, Vienna, 24/4/2012.

 Ruth Falconer. "3D Visualisation – Promoting The Development” House Building In Fife: “Building Relationships" Fife Council, Kirkcaldy, 28/11/2012. 

 Blackwood, D, Isaacs, J., & Falconer RE. Stakeholder Engagement via Immersive Visualisation – Scottish Government, 24th November 2011.

Falconer R. E. Interactive Visualisation for Sustainability @ Revealing Research in partnership with RCUK Digital Economy Programme, Pecha-Kucha. Dundee Science Centre, 9th November 2011.

Blackwood D & Falconer RE. Stakeholder engagement through immersive visualisation technologies James Hutton Institute, 20th September 2011

Falconer, RE and Otten, W (2010). From soils to.... University of Abertay Research Conference. 'The fundamental interconnectedness of all things'. Dundee, 15/9/2010.

Ruth E Falconer and Wilfred Otten (2010). From soils to.... University of Abertay Research Conference. 'The fundamental interconnectedness of all things'.

Ruth E. Falconer. (2009) Integrating techniques: Modelling fungal community dynamics in heterogeneous soil, SIMBIOS, University of Abertay Dundee, UK. At  Micro Soil: Integrating Biological, Physical and Chemical techniques for the study of soil micro-habitats.

Ruth Falconer and Jim Bown (2009). Fungi for pervasive adaptive systems. Centre for Emergent Computing. Edinburgh Napier University. 11th Feb 2009.

Ruth E. Falconer (2009) Modelling fungal growth in heterogeneous soil: analyses of the effect of soil physical structure on fungal community dynamics. Soils Complex and Non Linear Systems theme,  22nd April 2009. European Geoscience Union, Vienna, Austria.

Perada Summer School. Bio-inspired Models Ruth E Falconer, University of Abertay Dundee, UK Emma Hart, Centre for Emergent Computing, Edinburgh Napier University, UK Ben Paechter, Centre for Emergent Computing, Edinburgh Napier University, UK. September 2008.

Sessions organised (involved organising speakers)

Ruth Falconer and Nia White (2010) Modelling Fungal Colonies and Communities. International

Mycological Congress 9 The Biology of Fungi Edinburgh, UK. 1-6 August.

Ruth Falconer, Invitation to European Geosciences Union (2010) Vienna 2-7 May 2010.

Co-convenor of a session on Contemporary Education in Engineering and the Geosciences and paper presentation: Ruth Falconer, John Isaacs, and David Blackwood.

Using interactive 3D visualisation to educate stakeholders in urban sustainability.

E   External Examinations

     2015 PhD external examination. Rory McMullan Ulster University. The Computational Modelling of large Scale Predator-Prey Systems.

      2011 PhD transfer external examination. Steven Hopkins Glamorgan University. A Hybrid Mathematical Model of Fungal Mycelia: Tropisms, Polarised Growth and Application to Colony Competition.




Public understanding of science has always played a central role within my activities. This is illustrated in my involvement in activities during the UK Science week (funded by BBSRC), open days, and presentations to local schools, and café science events. For the last 5 years I have supervised Nuffield students during the summer period providing them with research experience. I also supervise Baccalaureate students. In the past I have received funding for and organised a Science week event: where 5 local schools visited Abertay University to participate in an interactive workshop on XRay CT. I have also proactively sought funding from BBSRC (local school coordinator capacity) and the Royal Institution and organised the content and speakers for two separate series of math masterclasses for secondary and primary schools.

Meet the rest of the team

Dr David King

Dr David King

Division of Computing and Maths | Lecturer

View profile

Dr Karen Meyer

Dr Karen Meyer

Division of Computing and Maths | Lecturer

View profile