The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research Group: Coastal Engineering and Management

Currently Active: 
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The Coastal Engineering and Management Research Centre combines expertise from a range of disciplines in Engineering and the Environment and has strong links with other faculties at Southampton, including Ocean and Earth Sciences at the National Oceanographic Centre and the Geodata Institute, Faculty of Social and Human Science. Our work ranges from the surveying, monitoring and modelling of physical processes (from the littoral zone to the offshore), including coastal engineering structures, to the assessment of risk and adaptation along the coast. There is  a strong focus on climate change issues,  and this issue is considered from the scale of Southampton and the Solent to the global scale. The more vulnerabler coastal settings are considered, especially small islands and deltas. There are extensive national and international collaborations with other universities and industry.

Group Overview

Examples of recent research have included:

  • wave breaking and aeration
  • prediction of extreme water levels using neural networks
  • scour of beaches at the base of defences
  • response of water tables to climate and other change in coastal aquifers
  • coastal cliff stability and erosion
  • mean and extreme sea-level rise in the English Channel: 1900 to 2006
  • the swell wave climate in the English Channel
  • downdrift erosion on cliffed coasts
  • estuary responses to human and climate influences


A major focus of our research is on long-term coastal change over many decades, including the impacts and responses to climate change and sea-level rise. We also lead the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research's Coasts Programme, which is exploring how the coast will evolve under a changing clime, including uncertainties, and developing a sound science basis for long-term coastal management decision-making. Our research also includes regional- to global-scale assessment of climate change in coastal areas conducted for governmental organisations such as the World Bank, OECD and the EU.

The Centre is part of the University-wide Centre for Coastal Processes, Engineering and Management (CCPEM).  

For further information, please contact Professor Robert Nicholls.

Postgraduate opportunities

The Coastal Engineering and Management Group provide the MSc Engineering in the Coastal Environment (ECE) which is jointly run with Ocean and Earth Science at the National Oceangraphy Centre. To find out more, the ECE course has it's own blog, run by a former student. The Group also provides the Southampton contribution to the Erasmus Mundus MSc Coastal and Marine Engineering and Management (CoMEM), which is lead by NTNU (Trondheim) and also involves Delft University of Technology, UPC (Barcelona) and City University (London)

Research Staff

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