David Dawson


I am and associated professor in sustainability and resilience in the School of Earth & Environment (Sustainability Research Institute). I have 17 years experience in the design/integration of climate science, spatial approaches, & assessment appraisal to support policy/decisions on climate adaptation and infrastructure resilience. I am motivated by applied, or impact, driven research & I am committed to supporting the translation of scientific outputs into public/policy areas to improve climate adaptation & sustainability at local/national scales. I have worked closely with UK Government and has helped develop and deliver guidance & response on climate resilience. I am also a member of the BSI Adaptation Standards Committee. At Leeds: I am a member of the water@leeds and the Priestley Centre for Climate Futures 

Prior to being in Earth & Environment (at Leeds), began my research career in Geographical Sciences (Plymouth), then progressed from researcher to independent researcher to lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering (Leeds). I recently moved faculties to the school of Earth & Environment where I continue to work across engineering, environment, & socio-sciences to seek research outputs that support how society can address current and future climate change. A dominant research topic has been flood risk in coastal, and also urban, environments, sustainable approaches to adaptation, and spatial and appraisal methods to support climate adaptation in a local and national context.  


  • Programme Lead: Sustainable Cities (MSc)

Research interests

I work across environmental, engineering, and social science systems with multi-disciplinary teams cumulating in cross-UKRI research experience to over £8 million of research projects: 

Research Grants: 


West Yorkshire (WY) Combined Authority; WY Flood Innovation Programme springboard projects (Accelerator Lead). 
Strategic Priorities Fund: Yorkshire Infrastructure Adaptation Forum   
Strategic Priorities Fund: Climate Resilience & Standards: Co-I: providing finance and economic assessment expertise to JBA led consortium. Link. 
Met Office 
Impact Grant: Applying system-based resilience framework with Leeds City Council & Infrastructure Investment Group  
Urban Flood Resilience in an Uncertain Future: Principal Investigator: Interoperability: EP/P004261/1 http://www.urbanfloodresilience.ac.uk/
TippingPoint/iBUILD Commissions: Engineering & arts collaboration 
Early Career Research Fellowship: (ECF/2014/144). Transport Infrastructure Futures 
Department for Transport Secondment; R29834/CN002; 
JSPS-Short-term Fellowship Award: Potential Infrastructure Mining Systems (PIMS), Nagoya & Ritsumeikan University, Japan.  
Bridging the Gap: Infrastructure Futures. Co-I and lead investigator: consortium generated iBUILD project EP/K012398/1 – I became Leeds’ Centre Research Fellow 
Research Team: 
Amrie Singh (2019-2023): PhD: Advancing the Unit Flood Response Approach for Urban Flood Management: Awarded ICE’s Ambassador for Water:
Dr Stephanie Bond (2023-2025): WYFLIP Accelerator Projects         
Dr Tom Willis (2019-2022): NERC/iCASP - System flood modelling
Dr Ben Rabb (2019-2022): NERC/iCASP - System flood modelling  / UKRI SPF Yorkshire Infrastructure Adaptation Forum 
Dr Jennifer Armstrong (2022): UKRI SPF Yorkshire Infrastructure Adaptation Forum/ WYFLIP

Non academic publications: 

Media Spotlights:  


  • Nominated for a University Partnership Award: Personal Tutor 
  • Nominated for a Highly Commended Paper in the Journal of Flood Risk Managements: Outstanding Paper Award. Volume 12, 2019. Interoperability: a conceptual framework to bridge the gap between multi‐functional and multi‐system urban flood management
  • International Mobility Award: Internal funds to boost international activity: UKRI/JSPS grant submitted and journal paper produced/accepted (April 2020). 
  • University Recognition Reward Scheme: Nominated by Director of Research for contributions to the school (stratergy/IPE). Successfully awarded. 
  • Great Western Research impact award: PhD thesis was runner up (one of 13 selected from 103) in the 2012
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • FHEA
  • PhD Geographical Sciences
  • BSc (hons) Geography

Professional memberships

  • JSPS Alumni
  • BSI Adaptation Committee Member (SES/1/7)

Student education

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have taught sustainability and resilience across the faculties of engineering & environment. My philosophy is to support students to apply their knowledge/understanding/skills to real world challenges; I focus on research-based learning & blended methods of engagement. I also promote external practitioners in programme & modules for realism and career inspiration. I currently lead the MSc Programme on Sustainable Cities, a innovative programme that is taught across the schools of Earth & Environment, Geography, & Institute for Transport Studies.


Programme Lead: MSc Sustainable Cities; ENV5008M: Sustainability Research Project - Module Leade;  ENV3030/5040M: Research Projects; TRAN5110M: Railway Operations, Management and Policy; CIVE5338M – Transport Resilience; CIVE5164M Transport Infrastructure Strategy; PGT Personal Tutor

2019-2023 (Civil Engineering)

Programme Lead: Engineering Project Management; CIVE5338M Transport Resilience - Module Leader; CIVE5170M Project Management Research Projects - Module Leader; CIVE5164M Transport Infrastructure Strategy; TRAN5110M Railway Operations, Management, & Policy; CIVE3750/5750M Research Projects; CIVE2080 Transport Planning & Modelling (UK/Southwest Jiatong); CIVE1116: Sustainability & Architecture; Level 1-3 personal tutor; Industrial Placement Tutor

2007-2011 (Geography)

Demonstrating practical lab skills, statistical skills; GIS practical sessions; Coastal Fieldtrip module: coring and GPS surveying; 



<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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>