water@leeds is one of the largest interdisciplinary centres for water research in any university in the world. It encompasses expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences and engineering as well as the arts. 

The water@leeds team comprises 150 professionals from across the different departments and faculties of the University of Leeds, ensuring a cross-section of expertise and different disciplinary backgrounds. 

Key strengths  

water@leeds has excellent links with industry and government and a track record of collaborative research and development, knowledge transfer and joint innovation. Central to water@leeds is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and hence solving major water issues.

Facts and figures 

  • our focus is on the interdisciplinary grand challenges for water – from local to global 
  • we outperform global benchmarks across many different water research areas (Thomson Reuters, 2013)
  • our research excellence is globally recognised, receiving more than double the world average number of citations in Water and Policy, Water and Atmosphere and Water and Land.
  • overall water@leeds is ranked in the top five of world leading water research organisations 
  • we are winners of the Water Industry Forum Impact Awards 2015 for UK Water Research, Techniques and Methodologies prize
  • the non-academic impact of our work has been recognised as internationally excellent in the 2014 REF exercise – these have also been highlighted in Nature (25 March 2015) 
  • our Doctoral Research and Training Centre (DTRC) is growing fast; we currently have around 140 Doctoral students with plans to double this number by 2020.


Water@Leeds has a number of partnerships with a wide range of businesses and stakeholders that will help both to further research and development for all parties involved, as well as helping to train the next generation of researchers. Some of our key partners include:

Major projects

FCFA HyCRISTAL: Integrating hydro-climate science into policy decisions for climate-resilient infrastructure and livelihoods in East Africa
HyCRISTAL will develop new understanding of climate change and its impacts in East Africa, working with the region’s decision-makers to manage water for a more climate-resilient future.

Maths Foresees
The Maths Foresees network was established in May 2015 to forge strong ties between researchers in the applied mathematics community with environmental scientists and with end-users of environmental research to better manage uncertainties in predicting severe environmental events.

Harnessing hedgerow soil biodiversity for restoration of arable soil quality and resilience to climatic extremes and land use changes.

Key people 

Professor Joseph Holden

Professor Martin Tillotson

Dr Pazit Ziv
DRTC Manager 

Kara Hazelgrave
Research & Innovation Development Manager


Gabriela Lopez Gonzalez
water@leeds Coordinator

Case studies

water@leeds staff and students are working on a range of projects across the water cycle, looking at different scales and across different disciplines. Find out more about the impact of our research

Find out more 

Read more about our current research and expertise