Professor of Geography and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge
Prof Richards is a member of the Environmental Processes research cluster. Since 1984 he has been a Lecturer, Reader and Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. From 1978-1984 he was a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer at the University of Hull.
Most of Prof Richard's research is conducted within the group dealing with Environmental Processes on a fairly wide-range of topics, from glacial hydrology to arid zone hydrology via studies of fluvial processes in small Alpine braided river to large Himalayan rivers. The Cambridge-based fluvial group has been very innovative, developing the use of terrain modelling methods, photogrammetry, and computational fluid dynamics in the investigation of hydraulic, sediment transport and channel morphology in complex natural river environments. A particular current interest is the interaction of fluvial, hydrological and ecological processes in floodplain environments, including the roles of channel migration dynamics as a control of floodplain biodiversity, the roughness effects of woody riparian vegetation, and hydrological influences on floodplain ecology.
Current and recent research projects include:
- modelling fluvial processes at a variety of time and space scales (river reaches to catchments), but increasingly at intermediate time (decadal) and space (reach) scales where model complexity must be reduced while retaining physical realism
- interactions of fluvial processes and floodplain ecology and the restoration of European floodplain forest ecosystems (more details can be found on the FLOBAR website)
- regional projects on flood hydrology in northern Thailand; catchment sediment delivery in the Xihuanshui basin, southern Gansu, China; historical mapping of fluvial changes in west Bengal and Bangladesh
- the Cambridge Arsenic Project - an interdisciplinary analysis of the causes, consequences and remediation of arsenic in groundwater sources
Other research projects relate to the Environment and Society research theme, and include:
- the role of science and technology in environmental policy
- the development of environmental scientific methodologies and research agendas
- institutional structures for water management, with a focus on Europe and China