Professor Keith Richards

Professor of Geography at Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Professor of Geography and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

Keith 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
  • Projects

    40 Key Research Questions on Science and Policy

    The CSaP Science and Policy Studies Group is running an ambitious programme to identify key questions on the relationship between science and policy.

  • 7 July 2022, 5:30pm

    The Inaugural Reynolds Lecture - 7 July 2022

    This inaugural Reynolds Lecture will be delivered by Dr Robert Macfarlane and will explore the landscapes, lawscapes, complexities, histories and futures of this new-old idea that the natural world is far more alive than we allow.

  • 11 March 2022, 5:30pm

    Democracy and distrust after the pandemic

    The 2022 Dr Seng Tee Lee Lecture was delivered by Professor Shelia Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard Kennedy School.

  • In news articles

    Policy makers and scientists collaborate to create new science-policy research agenda

    The importance of science in public policy has long been recognised, however there is growing debate over how this is best achieved.