Professor Joseph Holden

Professor Joseph Holden


Potential PhD applicants from around the world: Please contact me if you have already secured, or will be able to secure from a sponsor, an international scholarship to come to the UK to study and are interested in undertaking a PhD in one or more topics including peatlands, hydrology, catchment management, soil science or agriculture. I would be very happy to speak with you about supervising your PhD and to discuss and design a suitable project with you.

Organisations with funding who need some research or hydrological monitoring undertaken for them: Please contact me at any time - I will be happy to discuss your needs. My research funders include businesses, government research agencies, government departments, charities and trusts, and philanthropists.

Brief biography:

  • 1994-1997 BA and MA Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 1997-2000  PhD in peatland hydrology, Durham University
  • 1998-2002  Part-time lecturer, Earth Sciences Stockton extension, supporting widening participation and mature students, Durham University
  • 2000-2002  Teaching Fellow, University of Leeds
  • 2002-2005  Independent NERC Research Fellowship, University of Leeds
  • 2005-2006  Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Leeds
  • 2006-2007  Reader / Associate Professor in Physical Gepgraphy, University of Leeds
  • 2007-now  Full Profesor, Chair of Physical Geography (I was the youngest full Professor in the UK at the time)
  • 2008-now  Director of water@leeds
  • 2013-2019  Pro-Dean for Research & Innovation for the Faculty of Environment
  • I received the 2007 Philip Leverhulme Prize and the 2011 Gordon Warwick Medal from the British Society for Geomorphology, both for outstanding contributions to science.
  • I am Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society


  • Director of water@leeds
  • Director of the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme

Research interests

In my own research I seek to understand the processes associated with the hydrology and carbon dynamics of peatlands under environmental change. I also seek to understand how land management, including agriculture, impacts flowpaths through soils and into watercourses, and also how it impacts on hazard cascades such as flooding, wildfires, pollution, slope stability and drought risk.

I currently have ~£15 million of active grants on which I am a named investigator and I lead the £6M integrated catchment solutions programme (iCASP). Follow my latest publication releases and grant information on twitter at:

My research funders include businesses, government research agencies, government departments, charities and trusts, and philanthropists. Example current projects include:

I am a Chartered Geographer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

I edit and write for several major textbooks:

PhD studentships

I currently supervise 12 PhD students from a wide range of countries including China, Indonesia, Oman, the Netherlands, Nigeria and the UK. I am happy to supervise talented research postgraduates in my research field. If you would be interested in sponsoring a PhD project to allow talented researchers to fulfil their potential and undertake a PhD then please contact me.

Current students include:


Advisory Boards

I am a member of several advisory boards including:

  • Science Advisory Board, IGB Berlin
  • Science Advisory Board, MS Amlin
  • Yorkshire West Local Nature Partnership
  • Natural Environment Research Council College
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MA Geography, University of Cambridge
  • PhD, University of Durham
  • Chartered Geographer, Royal Geographical Society

Professional memberships

  • Royal Geographical Society
  • Royal Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • British Hydrological Society
  • British Society for Geomorphology

Student education

I teach hydrological topics, particularly on the MSc programmes in River Basin Dynamics

Research groups and institutes

  • water@leeds
  • River Basin Processes and Management

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>