Photo of Rebecca Wade

Rebecca Wade

Senior Lecturer

  • 120 Citations
  • 3 h-Index
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Personal profile

I’m a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science with over 20 years of experience of teaching, research, consultancy in the fields of Urban Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure, River Restoration, and Sustainable Stormwater Management (Natural Flood Management and SUDS).

Before joining the Urban Water Technology Centre at Abertay in 2002, I completed my doctoral training in physical geography at Dundee University, and then worked as postdoctoral researcher on stream and river processes at the University of Illinois (UIUC), USA. 

I work locally, nationally and internationally with government, industry, environmental regulators and research collaborators to address contemporary environmental management challenges and to increase our understanding of human interactions with nature. 

I’ve been involved in a wide range of projects, from water and ecosystem management in urban areas in Brazil, and urban diffuse pollution mitigation in Scotland, to linking greenspace with health benefits.  I have established success in research proposal writing, consortium building and funding procurement. In the period from 2008 – 2017 I was involved in 73 submitted proposals (as PI, Co-I, or named researcher), 33 of these were successful (45% success rate).

I also coordinate the international SUDS network (SUDSnet) helping to connect researchers and practitioners within an international community of practice. With my co-organiser (Prof Sue Charlesworth at Coventry University) we have been running the network and hosting international conferences since 2004. We have sustained the network as a self-funded community of professional practice for 10 years since the EPSRC network funding finished. The network has over 800 members internationally (network membership is 75% practitioners, 25% academics). Through the network we have been instrumental in knowledge exchange and sharing of good practice during a time when the understanding and application of sustainable drainage has been developing at pace.

As a STEM ambassador and Athena Swan leader I help to promote STEM subjects and equality in STEM, working within Abertay and externally with schools, running Café Science events, Women in Engineering day activities and the Dundee Women in Science Festival.

Affiliation: Division of Natural and Built Environment, School of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of Abertay Dundee, DD1 1HG. Tel: +44(0)1382 308650. E-mail:

Research: My major research interests include: Urban Ecosystem Services, Geomorphological and Ecological effects of Stream Naturalization; Issues of urban drainage and improving urban watercourses; Stream Channel Restoration; Ecosystem-based Management; and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS).

Brief Biography: I gained my PhD (conferred 1998) at the University of Dundee. My thesis title was “A Quantitative Study of Waterborne Soil Erosion on Agricultural Land in Eastern Scotland - Towards Erosion Prediction”. Not long after completing my PhD I took up a Post Doctoral Research position in the USA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Whilst in Illinois I worked on river channel dynamics. My main research project was a US EPA-funded ‘Star Project’: “Development of an Integrated Scientific and Technological Framework for Stream Naturalization”. I was responsible for interdisciplinary project management, coordination of research focus and logistics and coordination of annual reporting.

I have been working in the Urban Water Technology Centre at the University of Abertay Dundee since returning from the USA in October 2002. During which time I have been involved in teaching, research, consultancy, and contract work and professional training (CPD).

My background is physical geography but I teach collaboratively with civil engineers and work in interdisciplinary teams on research projects that contribute to our understanding of human interactions with nature, and natures' interaction with the built environment. I work in both urban and rural settings and have extensive experience of working with the public and with stakeholders in relation to decision-making for multi-functional/ multi-benefit use of urban greenspace and rural environments. I have a track record of linking research to engineering and planning requirements and an successful in bringing together teams from diverse disciplines and backgrounds.
In addition to SUDSnet, and other projects mentioned above, I have been awarded funding from AHRC to conduct 3 cross-disciplinary, community enagement projects within the Cross-ResearchCouncil 'Connected Communities' programme. I have worked with the James Hutton Institute on Scottish Government projects related to Urban Diffuse Pollution mitigation and Rural SuDS. I have contributed to 2 EU projects: an EU Regional Development project on low-carbon initiatives (LoCalNet: and an EU MED programme dedicated to improving energy efficiency through sustainable stormwater management (E2Stormed: more recently I have contributed to Global Challenge research projects (Via Newton Fund) exploring possibilities for gaining multiple benfits from urban green space in Brazilian cities.

Research interests

My Research areas:

Urban Environments: urban water and greenspace management; built/natural environment interactions; urban sustainability; multiple benefits delivery by green spaces and green infrastructure, including links to biodiversity and human health and well-being

Urban Ecosystem Services: goods and services provided by the environment which are particularly relevant in urban areas; multiple benefits.

Sustainable water management: SUDS; surface water management; Multiple benefits delivery by sustainable water management through enhanced understanding of Ecosystem Services

Rivers/Hydromorphology: river restoration, catchment science, natural flood management

I have contributed to EU and International projects and provided policy guidance to Scottish Government on diffuse pollution management, urban stormwater management and rural SuDS. I have contributed to both of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment reports (2011 & 2015). These have formed the basis of U.K. Government environment papers and policies.

I am a prolific writer of research proposals and have a track record of success in consortium-building, proposal preparation and funding procurement.

I have worked with colleagues on many European and International projects that have challenged me to work across cultures and languages and in different climates to deliver solutions that tackle water quantity and quality problems whilst also delivering additional benefits (such as; amenity, recreation, biodiversity, energy saving, aesthetic improvement, health and well-being etc).

Examples of recent International projects are: 

EU MED funded project (E2Stormed – gaining energy and carbon benefits from sustainable stormwater management);

UK-Brazil Newton funded project (ADEPT – environmental and community benefits from green infrastructure). 

More locally, I work with stakeholders and communities to help deliver impact from research.

Examples of local projects are:

Dundee Green Health Partnership, working with NHS Tayside and Dundee City Council and supported by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage) exploring Dundee's natural environment as a resource that can be used to help tackle some of our key health issues. The initiative aims to bring about a step change in the use of nature-based solutions to deliver health outcomes.

Rottal Burn River Restoration Project, working with Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust, River South Esk Catchment Partnership and Angus Council to monitor the progressive physical environment changes to a restored river reach. As well as monitoring the movement of the river through time we have been exploring the ecosystem service values resulting from the restoration efforts and have hosted a conference show-casing 5 years of collaborative research work and multi-agency data collection at this river restoration location.

When collaborating on projects I work with colleagues in a holistic and inclusive way. I often work on projects where key stakeholders are engaged from the very early stages to work collaboratively to form ‘learning alliances’ and ‘regional working groups’ to co-design and co-deliver the storm water solutions. This approach helps regions to ‘transition’ to more sustainable storm water management. Evidence of this can be seen in the E2Stormed project ( Within the E2Stormed project, along with UWTC colleagues, we were instrumental in delivering SUDS training and advice as well assisting in development of Regional Working Groups for Energy Efficiency and production of the Transition Manual for several Municipalities across the Mediterranean.

Research funding:
I have established success in research proposal writing, consortium building and funding procurement. In the period from 2008 – 2017 I was involved in 73 submitted proposals (as PI, Co-I, or named researcher), 33 of these were successful (45% success rate). A total of £16,250,000.00 in funding requested, translating to £4,900,500.00 in successful funding (31% of total requested) and bringing £750,000.00 to Abertay.



Civil Engineering BSc

EEM103 - Landscape Processes and Surveying (Module Tutor)

EEM203 - Water Resources and Fluid Dynamics

EEM201 - Surveying and Construction (Module Tutor)

EEM496 - BSc Honours project (project supervisor)



Smart Cities (module tutor)

Success through Failure



MSc/ PGDip Energy Water and Environmental Management 

I am the Programme Leader for the MSc programme. The programme is an integration of scientific, technical, managerial and entrepreneurial concepts in the management of the environment, focusing on energy requirement, production and utilisation, and water resources management. Find out more here:

I contribute to the following modules:

EEM501 - Water Resources and Quality Management 

EEM514 - MSc Dissertation/Research Project (Module Tutor)

GRS501 - Research Methods 


Research Grants and Funding

Principal investigator 2017:  Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report. Habitat Monitoring Report for EU LIFE+ project ‘Pearls in Peril’ – Scotland. Providing assessment for SNH of data and monitoring protocols for river restoration efforts on the Rivers Dee and South Esk in eastern Scotland.

Co-Investigator 2015; Scottish Enterprise Innovation Voucher (HEI partner with Carruthers Renewables) Water wheel research and proof-of-concept testing for a new style water wheel for local energy production.

Co-Investigator 2015; Scottish Government-funded CREW project (HEI/JHI collaboration): Delivering a Design Guidance Manual for Rural SUDS.

Co-Investigator 2014 -2016; RCUK/Fapemig – Newton Fund (UK/Brazil) ADEPT: developing the ecosystem Approach to DErive Positive urban Transformations in the context of intersecting vulnerabilities (lead partners Middlesex University, UK and UFMG, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)

Principal Investigator 2014; Scottish Government-funded CREW project (HEI/JHI collaboration): SRDP Guidance on Rural SUDS (RSuDS)

Co-investigator 2013Scottish Natural Heritage/Creative Scotland funded projects for ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ Title: Making space for water: a poetry of place. With Hazel Lesley Harrison (poet) and Jo Vergunst (Aberdeen)

Co-investigator 2013; Scottish Government-funded CREW project (HEI/SUDSWP collaboration) Title: Implementation of Source Control for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in Scotland

Co-investigator 2013Scottish Government/Scottish Crucible-funded ‘Projects for Scotland’ Title: Space to Pace (Greenspace and Health study in conjunction with Dr Helen Bridle at Heriot Watt University and others)

Lead Investigator (for UK/Abertay) 2013 – 2015: EU MED (Mediterranean) Programme: E2STORMED – Improvement in energy efficiency in the water cycle by the use of innovative storm water management in smart Mediterranean countries. Project leader: Ignacio Escuder Bueno, University Polytechnic Valencia (UPV), Spain.

Co-Investigator. 2013 Creative Scotland (Arts Council): ACES – Art, Science and Conflict. Artist/Scientist collaborative project with a focus on areas of environmental conflict. In collaboration with Prof Steve Redpath, Aberdeen University (and others).

Co-investigator 2012AHRC Connected Communities: Community, Culture, Environments and Sustainability Development Awards (Large grant development fund) awarded Dec 2012. Title: Eco-Cultural Production in a Changing World. Funding to enable development of a larger grant proposal to generate new knowledge of eco-cultural production working with community partner. In collaboration with: Steve Cinderby (PI) Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York (and others).

Co-investigator 2012AHRC Connected Communities: Community, Culture, Environments and Sustainability Development Awards (Follow-on fund) awarded Dec 2012. Title: Bridging Barriers. Testing the applicability of a variety of visual participatory methods to improving our understanding of the migration and translation of ideas of sustainable behaviour between different communities. In collaboration with: Steve Cinderby (PI) Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, and Ken Scott-Brown, Psychology, University of Abertay Dundee.

Sector Lead (urban) 2012UK National Ecosystem Assessment, Phase 2. Work package 7: Interaction of response options within the UK NEA scenarios. Principle Investigators: Iain Brown (James Hutton Institute) and Paula Harrison (ECI, Oxford).

Principal Investigator 2012; Scottish Government-funded CREW project (HEI/JHI collaboration) Title: Critically review methodologies to identify sources and pathways for urban diffuse pollution and identify measures/treatments with multiple benefits.

Principle Investigator 2011Abertay Crucible Interdisciplinary Fund. Changing perceptions of criminal behaviour using evidence from nano-scale to city-scale.

Principal Investigator 2010AHRC/Connected Communities funding 2010. SPARKS – Social PARKS: Urban greenspace as a focus for connecting communities and research.

Principal Investigator 2010; AHRC/Connected Communities funding 2010. Connecting Research – Connecting Communities; a Connected Communities Network Meeting. In collaboration with: Prof. Rachel Cooper, Lancaster University

Co-Investigator 2010AHRC/Connected Communities funding 2010. Knowledge Exchange: Improved Community Engagement through Spatial and Visualisation methods (ICE-SAV). In collaboration with: Steve Cinderby (PI) Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York.

Principle Investigator 2010 - 2011Abertay Crucible Interdisciplinary Fund. Modelling Optimisation of Green Space Distribution in Urban Environments

Principal Investigator 2009Royal Society of Edinburgh / NESTA / Scottish Crucible. Making space for water, biodiversity and people in Scotland’s cities. In collaboration with: Dr Jo Vergunst, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

Collaborating Researcher 2009RSE / NESTA / Scottish Crucible. Is “grow your own” sustainable urban food production? In collaboration with: Dr Christine Switzer, Civil Engineering, University of Strathclyde,  Dr Tim George, Scottish Crop Research Institute,  Dr Lisa Lee, Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation, University of Edinburgh.

Principal Investigator 2007 – 2010ESRC/NERC/EPSRC Trans-disciplinary Seminar Series. Title: “ISSUES – Integrating Sciences to Sustain Urban Ecosystem Services. Oct 2007 – March 2010.

Principal Investigator 2007SNH contract: Title: Division of UK Rivers into ECSs (Evaluated Corridor Sections).

Principal Investigator. 2006 – 2007; Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. Small Research Grant. Title: “Urban Regeneration and Health of Urban Rivers”.

Research coordinator 2004 – 2007; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Network Grant. Title: "Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Network, SUDSnet."

Co-Principal Investigator (with Bruce Rhoads (PI) and Marcelo Garcia(Co-I)) 2001 – 2004; US National Science Foundation(NSF) Western European Program Grant. Title: “U.S. – U.K. Cooperative Research: Integration of Mathematical Modeling, Physical Modeling and Field Research for Advanced Understanding of River Dynamics".


Professional Activities

Member of the International Working Group on WSUD (Water Sensitive Urban Design) from 2014
Invited Panel Interviewer for NERC (Droughts and Water Scarcity) from 2013
Invited member of ESRC Peer Review College from 2010
Invited participant AHRC Connected Communities workshops 2009-2012
EPSRC Reviewer 2009 – present
NERC Reviewer 2011- present
Editorial Advisory Board Member World Water: Stormwater Management
Guest Editor for the Journal CLEAN –Air, Soil, Water (2013)
Peer Reviewer for ICE (Institute of Civil Engineers) Journals
Peer Reviewer for the International open-access journal Water
Peer Reviewer for Soil Science Society of America Journal
Peer Reviewer for International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Peer Reviewer for Journal of Ecological Economics
Peer Reviewer for the Journal Water, Air and Soil Pollution
Peer Reviewer for Journal of Environmental Management
Peer Reviewer for the Journal of Water and Climate Change
Peer Reviewer for European Journal of Engineering Education
Paper Reviewer for 11th International Conference on Urban Drainage
Coordinator of paper contributions to SUDSnet Conferences 2004-present
External Examiner at Dundee University (MA Environmental Sustainability) 2013-16
External reviewer for MSc modules at Coventry University (previous)
External reviewer for Diploma in Environmental Management Practice at Middlesex University (previous)
External Examiner for PhDs (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy; Glasgow Caldonian, UK; and Coventry University, UK in 2016)

Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge Exchange and Community Activities

Athena SWAN Award institutional self-assessment team (SAT) member for Abertay
Athena SWAN Award Departmental SAT Chair for School of Science Engineering and Technology at Abertay University.
Café Science Dundee, Committee Member (2009- present)
Women in Science representative for Abertay (2011 – present)
STEM Ambassador (2017 – present)
Scottish Crucible participant (2009) and active SC alumni (2009 – present)
Dundee Women in Science Festival Committee member (2011- present)
Coordinator AMCE (Abertays Most Civil Engineers) Cancer Research UK ‘Race for Life’ team (2013 & 2014)
British Geomorphological Research Group (BGRG) Member (1993 - 2004)
Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) Member (1993 – 1999)
British Hydrological Society (SHG member 2004 - ).
River Restoration Centre (presenter at national networking conferences 2006-present).
Invited participant NERC Green infrastructure workshop, Glasgow 2016.
Invited speaker SNH green infrastructure fund workshop, Edinburgh 2016
Invited Speaker Dundee Association of University Women (2016)
Invited Speaker Dundee Afternoon Lectures (2015)
Invited Speaker Royal Tay Yacht Club (2014)
Invited Speaker at Royal Scottish Geographical Society (2011)
Invited Speaker Café Science Extra Dundee (2009)
Invited Speaker Abertay Rotary Club (2009)


I am a STEM Ambassador, actively working with schools and stakeholders in scotland to promote, inspire and engage young people in STEM, and particularly to encourage and support women in science and engineering.

I am Abertay Universitys' 'Women in Science' Representative for: Dundee Women in Science Festival  (

and Athena SWAN Award self-assessment team (SAT) member for Abertay ( and SAT chairperson for the School of Science Engineering and Technology (SET) at Abertay.

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia.

I am a Café Science Dundee committee member and organiser, (,

I have been invited to present my work to the public at Cafe Science Dundee, at Abertay Rotary Club, at The Royal Tay Yacht Club, in the Dundee Afternoon lecture series and in the Royal Scottish Geographical Society public lecture series and to the Scottish Crucible Forum (2017).

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Rebecca Wade is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
urban drainage Earth & Environmental Sciences
ecosystem service Earth & Environmental Sciences
urban ecosystem Earth & Environmental Sciences
drainage Earth & Environmental Sciences
conceptual framework Earth & Environmental Sciences
natural capital Earth & Environmental Sciences
stormwater Earth & Environmental Sciences
stakeholder Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2011 2019

Scotland's Natural Health Service: local green health partnerships

Wade, R., 24 Oct 2019, Scotland field guide for the future. London: RSA, p. 32-33 2 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access
Health Services
Public Health

Urban pollution and ecosystem services

Wade, R., Jan 2019, Urban pollution: science and management . Charlesworth, S. M. & Booth, C. A. (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell, p. 199-210 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access
urban ecosystem
urban pollution
ecosystem service
air quality
1 Citation (Scopus)
295 Downloads (Pure)

A new, more efficient waterwheel design for very-low-head hydropower schemes

Carruthers, D. R., Carruthers, P. & Wade, R., Aug 2018, In : Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Civil Engineering. 171, 3, p. 129-134 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Potential energy
Kinetic energy
Open Access
agricultural land

Application of the E2STORMED decision support tool in Benaguasil

Perales-Momparler, S., García, P. P. P., Juesas Sierra, M., Escuder-Bueno, I., Andrés-Doménech, I., Morales Torres, A., Pérez-Navarro Gómez, Á., Peñalvo López, E., Alfonso Solar, D., Wade, R., Duffy, A., Jefferies, C. & Berwick, N., Jun 2015, 91 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access


Natural flood management applications (NFM): the role of local institutions

Author: Ripiye, N., Aug 2016

Supervisor: Wade, R. (Supervisor) & Samuel, A. M. M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis