Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research

Staff Profile

Dr Paul Quinn

Senior Lecturer in Catchment Hydrology



Joined the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle in 1997, as part of the Water Resources Engineering Group. His area of teaching revolves around hydrology (water quantity and quality), with a focus on Catchment Systems Engineering. His research interests focus on catchment instrumentation, GIS and modelling. The work includes a wide range of soft engineered interventions for diffuse pollution management and flood risk mitigation (including, ponds, wetlands, riparian and ditch management). Equally the work includes liaison with catchment stakeholders and regional and national policy bodies (such as Defra, NGO’s and The Environment Agency).

Roles and Responsibilities

Chair of the Undergraduate Board of Examiners

Member of School Civil Engineering Programme Management Group


PhD Catchment Hydrology (Lancaster University, 1991)

BSc Geology and Water Resources (Aston University 1987, 2:1 Hns)


European Geophysical Union, American Geophysical Union and British Hydrological Society (part of the Institution of Civil Engineers)

Industrial Experience

In the area of catchment management he has worked closely with Defra and the Environment Agency and many rural organisations and NGO’s, such as Natural England, The Rivers Trusts, CPRE and RSPB. In that time a number of near market projects have been undertaken regarding pollution control technologies and flood mitigation using soft engineered features. Outputs have included government reports and decision support tools. More recently a major component of his income has arisen from consultancy projects which have targeted small catchment studies and flood alleviation strategies.

Previuos Post - ADAS 1995-1997 Consultant in the Research and Development team.


Research interests

What is the future of our landscape? How do we use data, models and proactive land management strategies to create a functioning and thriving landscape for all who use it? The long term goal is to set up integrated catchment management bodies capable of solving pollution and flooding problems whilst benefitting all who those who contribute to the solution (which includes professional bodies, industry and the public). Catchment Systems Engineering forms part of Earth System Engineering and looks to altering the water quantity and quality entering our rivers, using soft engineering and through active uptake by farmers and policy makers. Gathering data through state of the art instrumentation and then using models and GIS tools analyse them, produces the evidence base required to influence policy makers.


Postgraduate Supervision

Current PhD students as first supervisor – Mike Palmer (writing up), Nick Barber (year 2), Alex Nicholson (Year 2) and 1 new student starting in January.


Esteem indicators

Invited talks at ICE and CIWEM meetings. An invitation to the Houses of Parliament, Office of Science and Technology, to speak at special meeting to summarise his work on Natural Flood Management.

Current Funding

Defra – Demonstration Test Catchments Project, a 5 year study in the River Eden on pollution control

Defra – DTC Knowledge Exchange programme

NERC – The Environmental Virtual Observatory pilot study


Undergraduate Teaching

CEG1101 Environmental Systems (50% and module leader)

Postgraduate Teaching

CEG 8513 Hydroinformatic Systems Development (80% and module leader)

CEG 8503 Hydrosystems Processes and Management (30%)

Contributions to several residential and flexible learning modules