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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science
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Dr Attila N Lazar BEng, MSc, PhD

Principal Research Fellow

Dr Attila N Lazar's photo

Attila is a Principal Research Fellow within Geography at the University of Southampton.

Data integration, modelling and cross-disciplinary research are essential in the 21st century to drive science forward and to better support decision making and development.

Attila is an environmental scientist with extensive experience in hydrological, hydro-ecological, sediment transport and integrated human-environmental modelling. He is currently co-leading the WorldPop team on the GRID3 programme, which supports low- and middle-income countries with essential data and capacity strengthening to enhance societal development.

Attila has been working for the University of Southampton since 2012. He is currently co-leading the GRID3 programme (Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development) at the WorldPop research group. His team is responsible for creating high-resolution population estimates with various statistical modelling approaches in support of governments in data sparse, low- and middle-income countries. The team also provides capacity strengthening in GIS and population modelling. The broader GRID3 programme, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, generates, validates and uses geospatial data on population, settlements, infrastructure, and boundaries. GRID3 is implemented by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN, Columbia University), the Flowminder Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and WorldPop (University of Southampton).

Previously, 2012-18, Attila worked for the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment (University of Southampton) where he was leading integration activities in large multidisciplinary projects considering the future of deltas. The ESPA Deltas Project (2012-16) considered ecosystem services and livelihoods in Bangladesh where Attila developed the Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model (ΔDIEM) which simulated the effects of environmental change and their effects on rural livelihoods. The coupling of engineering, natural system and welfare models was innovative and unusual. Since then ΔDIEM has been applied in follow-up research projects such as a catalyst fund project of the University of Oxford led REACH programme and the ESPA Bridge project to assess a series of projects proposed in the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. This latter research was conducted in collaboration with the General Economic Division of the Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh. 

In 2014-18, the DECCMA project strongly built on the knowledge generated during ESPA Deltas project with more focus on fundamental research. DECCMA aimed to understand what drives migration in deltaic environments and what the likely influence of climate and environmental change is on migration and in-situ adaptation now and in the future. During this project, Attila led a team of integrators that formally brought together the project elements (natural sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences, economics and governance) in a transdisciplinary, quantitative integrated model.

Attila’s research at the University of Reading on river basin management integrated abiotic and biotic factors in his modelling studies to enable water managers to design cost-effective restoration programmes for freshwater ecosystems (rivers, lakes, wetlands). Such research is often limited by the numerous factors affecting the environment in question and by the sparse operational and research data. He investigated the controls on primary producer composition in UK chalk rivers by developing a new model to explore abiotic (flow, nutrients, light, water temperature) and biotic (suspended algae, macrophytes, epiphytes, sediment biofilm) interactions. Attila developed a Bayesian wetland plant community model under the EU FP7 REFRESH project that is capable of considering various environmental and management stressors and predicts the likelihood of the survival of different British NVC (National Vegetation Classification) plant communities. Attila applied existing models to such problems, for example to investigate the possible management techniques to reduce sediment delivery to rivers and thus protecting the Atlantic Salmon community (INCA model). Another study (Integrated Carbon, Water and Land Management for Poverty Alleviation, ICWALPA) investigated the water availability for and thus the feasibility of sugarcane production in Ghana (PITMAN model). Attila finally carried out EU Water Framework Directive related ecological status assessments through modelling (TEOTIL, SWAT) and field data collection (ecological reference condition surveys).



Research interests

  • Numerical modelling and model development (process-based, systems dynamics, integrative, statistical)
  • Social simulations
  • Hydrology, water quality, sediment and nutrient transport
  • Agriculture crops
  • Soil salinization
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Coastal adaptation and management
  • River basin management

PhD supervision

Amy Charlotte Welsh (Faculty of Engineering And The Environment) - Interaction between human engineering and natural processes on delta evolution: A systems analysis.

Research group

Environmental Change and Sustainability (ECaS)

Affiliate research groups

WorldPop, Landscape Dynamics and Ecology (LDE)

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Dr Attila N Lazar
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 39/3007

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