School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor David Werner

Environmental Systems Modelling


We work with global partners on the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 6, clean water and sanitation, and its numerous linkages with the other 16 UNSDGs. My CleanWaterResearch blog provides an up-to-date summary.

Education and Employment Experience
2004-2019         Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in the Environmental Engineering group at Newcastle University
2013-2017         Degree Programme Director Environmental Engineering MSc
2002-2004         Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University
1999-2002         PhD student at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
1998-1999         Environmental Consultant at Umwelt Consulting Wälti, Switzerland 

Membership of Professional Bodies
Member of the American Chemical Society and the Institute of Water and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Fellowship for experienced researchers from the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; Postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation; Prix Chorafas for the PhD thesis; Willy Studer award of ETHZ.

Services to the Scientific Community
Mentor with the African Academy of Sciences Mentorship Scheme (since 2019). Mentor for the British Council sponsored Leadership Training Water Initiative South Asia (2019). Panel member for the UKRI NERC Digital Environment call (2018), the US Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development call ER18-C4 (2017), the British Council and Department for Business Innovation and Skills call Global Innovation Initiative Round 2 UD3 (2015), the Research Council of Norway call Sino-Norwegian Research Coorperation on Climate and the Environment (2011).


Research Focus Areas

1) Field methods for water quality surveying, including portable next generation sequencing.
Our ambition is to develop a portable laboratory for comprehensive water quality analysis anywhere in the world.
2) Innovative use of sorbents for water treatment and environmental restoration.
I recently gave a seminar entitled "The DDT story: From savior to villain and how to deal with the legacy", which summarizes 15 years of transitioning research into practice for contaminated sediment restoration with activated carbon.
3) Minimize water wastage in the built environment.
I recently gave a seminar on this topic entitled "Sustainable water use in the built environment and implications for wastewater treatment" at IIT Gandhinagar.

Google Scholar Profile
You can access my  SCOPUS profile here and Google Scholar profile here.

Research Impacts on Policy and Practice
My research papers and book chapters are cited in a 2019 WHO report on Microplastics in Drinking Water, a 2013 Directive of the US EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, and a 2015 Focused Feasibility Study for the remediation of the United Heckathorn Superfund Site near Richmond, California. My sediment remediation model has been released to the public via the website of the US Department of Defence’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP).

Research Grants


  • Royal Society, (Principal Investigator), Comprehensive water quality analysis where there is no laboratory.
  • RAEng, (Principal Investigator), Rapid identification and effective communication of waterborne hazards in emergencies.
  • DST-UKIERI, (Principal Investigator), Vulnerability assessment and sustainable solutions for water quality management in the urban environment.
  • Global Challenges Research Fund & EPSRC, (Principal Investigator), IMAGINE: Innovative technologies to rapidly survey, map and communicate waterborne hazards.
  • Fera Science Ltd, (Principal Investigator), Environmental fate assessments to protect agricultural crops and drinking water (IAFRI studentship)
  • Fera Science Ltd, (Principal Investigator), Developing methodologies to understand the degradation and adsorption of macromolecule biopesticides in soil (IAFRI studentship).
  • RCUK (Co-Investigator), GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub.
  • EPSRC & Northumbrian Water, (Co-Investigator), Engineering metaldehyde removal in water treatment through a deeper understanding of biological mechanisms (STREAM studentship).


  • Newton-Fund/British Council, (Principal Investigator), Developing portable next generation sequencing as innovative technology for microbial water quality management in aquaculture without excessive use of antibiotics and disinfectants.
  • BBSRC, (Principal Investigator), Valorisation of agricultural wastes in the Thai rural economy for bioenergy production, nutrient recycling and water pollution control in aquaculture.
  • EPSRC & Severn Trent Water, (Co-Investigator), Roots and causes of chlorine resistance in coliform and other indicator organisms in water treatment systems (STREAM studentship).
  • The Royal Society, (Principal Investigator), Collaboration with China, Enzymatic antibiotics pollution control.
  • Newton Bhabha Fund, (Principal Investigator), Fate and transport of pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment plants (PhD student placement).
  • European Commission, FP7 (Co-Investigator), Initial Training Network, Microbial Resource Management and Engineering in the Urban Water Cycle.
  • Newcastle University, (Principal Investigator), Digital technology to feedback data to consumers to influence their water use to change their behavior and monitor their response.
  • British Council and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, (Principal Investigator), Global Innovation Partnership to Investigate, Restore & Protect the Urban Water Environment.
  • EPSRC & Scottish Water, (Principal Investigator), Optimized removal of trihalomethanes precursors in Scottish Water treatment plants.
  • EPSRC & Scottish Water, (Principal Investigator), Water disinfection by-products - from formation pre-cursors to management strategies (STREAM studentship).
  • EPSRC, (Principal Investigator), CONNECT: Connecting the UK Industrial Doctorate Centre for the Water Sector (STREAM) with the US Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt).
  • NERC, (Co-Investigator), Inexpensive monitoring of groundwater pollution in urban African districts.
  • Royal Academy of Engineering, (Principal Investigator), Collaboration with China, Environmental remediation applications of iron/carbon composite sorbent materials.
  • EPSRC, (Co-Investigator), General and Unifying Concepts for Wastewater Treatment Plant Design.
  • Humboldt Foundation, (Principal Investigator), Humboldt Fellowship for Senior Researchers
  • Nufarm & Enviresearch, (Principal Investigator), Phenoxy herbicide sorption data review.
  • The Royal Society, (Principal Investigator), Characterization of natural and anthropogenic black carbon materials in estuaries in Northeast England.
  • OneNortheast & Enviresearch, (Principal Investigator), Modelling the pollutant fate in agricultural ditches for risk assessment and pollution control.
  • The Leverhulme Trust, (Principal Investigator), Improved biogeochemical models of the pollutant fate in sediment.
  • EPSRC, (Principal Investigator), Linking the fundamental concepts of sediment pollution remediation and ecotoxicity for improved engineering designs.
  • EPSRC, (Principal Investigator), Remediation of polluted sediment assisted by tidal energy
  • NERC, (Principal Investigator), Imaging micro-organisms and pollutants at the microscale.
  • The Royal Society, (Principal Investigator), Bioremediation of polluted soil at the crossroad: Should the bioavailability of persistent residuals be enhanced?


MEng and BEng projects

Every year I have the privilege of working closely with Civil Engineering students on their projects. Two of them have resulted in fantastic websites to promote safe water use and sanitation.

Water quality data sharing website

Sanitation website


BEng Modules: CEG2101, Water and Wastewater Treatment
MSc/MEng Modules: CEG8101 Core Concepts in Environmental Engineering, CEG8405 Air Pollution, CEG8106 Groundwater Contamination and Remediation, CEG8503 Hydrosystems: Processes and Management

Continuous Professional Development Provision
For the Hellenic Open University: Wastewater and Biosolids Management, Distance Education E-learning Summer School (2017, 2018, 2019); for the UK Environment Agency: Groundwater Hydrochemistry (2007, 2008, 2009), Groundwater Contaminant Fate and Transport (2008 and 2009); for Nicholas O'Dwyer Ltd.: Wastewater Treatment (2009)

Postgraduate Research Student Supervision (as Principal Advisor)
Mr. Vincenzo Padricello, Mr. Emmanuel Johnson, Mr. Jian Zang, Ms. Jiaqian Wang, Mr. Nathan Keighley, Ms. Jidapa Plaimart, Ms. Rixia Zan
Dr. Alero Arenyeka (graduated in 2018, now with the Environment Agency), Dr. Maria Valdivia-Garcia (graduated in 2017, now at Imperial College London), Dr. Onotasamiderhi Tarric Igun (graduated in 2017, now at YourEnvironment Ltd), Dr. Badruddeen Sani (graduated in 2016, now at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria), Dr. George Mangse (graduated in 2015, now at Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja),  Dr. Khaled M Mossa-Bushnaf (graduated in 2013, now at El-mergab University), Dr. Abdulmagid Ali (graduated in 2011, now at the Petroleum Training & Qualifying Institute), Dr. Sarah Hale (graduated in 2009, now at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute), Dr. Nayrah Khandani Ahranjani (graduated in 2007), Dr. Ying Luo (graduated in 2007).

BiteSizeUni Summer School 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016: Water quality assessment practical for Year 12 and First Year College students. 

Degree Programme Directorship
I was the Degree Programme Director of the Environmental Engineering MSc course at Newcastle University from 2013-17 with overall responsibility for the management and enhancement of the standards and quality of the course.