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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science
(023) 8059 4619

Professor Jim Wright BA, MSc, PhD

Professor in Geographic Information Science and International Development; Deputy Head of School (Research)

Professor Jim Wright's photo

Jim’s research examines how geospatial data can be used to tackle public health and environmental management problems, particularly in relation to safe water access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I am particularly interested in using geospatial technology to tackle public health and environmental management problems, especially those involving water and health in developing countries.

Before joining Southampton, Jim previously worked with Prof. Stephen Gundry at the University of Bristol and at the University of Edinburgh, where he completed a PhD exploring spatial aspects of public health nutrition in Zimbabwe.

PhD Information Systems for Child Nutrition in Zimbabwe (University of Edinburgh) 1998
MSc Geographical Information Systems (University of Edinburgh) 1991
B.A. Geography (Oxford University) 1989

2014-2019: Associate professor, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton
2004-2013: Lecturer in GIS, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton
2001-2004: Research Fellow, Water and Environmental Management Research Centre, University of Bristol (50% time).
1999-2004: Research Fellow, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
1993-1999: Research Associate, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
1991-1993: Research contractor, Forestry Authority Northern Research Station, Roslin, Scotland


Research interests

I have two main research interests:

(A) Public health and environmental management applications of GIS: My interests in using GIS for environmental management has been centred around planning support for sustainable and environmental tourism via PhD research. Through a further PhD project, we are currently investigating the spatial representation of access to safe water and adequate sanitation through census data.

(B) Drinking water quality and health in developing countries: My current and recent research has focussed on urban water commodity chains in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the abstraction, management and selling of groundwater in urban Kenya via an NERC-funded project, and the management and public health impacts of packaged water use in urban Ghana via an MRC-funded project.

PhD supervision

Jim is currently supervising PhD work by Winfred Dotse-Gborgbortsi examining use of routine health management information systems data in Ghana. Jim also supervises PhD work by Mair Thomas examining patterns of water availability and supply continuity in Africa and work by Kate Rawlings, examining spatio-temporal population exposure to flood hazards. Jim is an external adviser to Mutono Nyamai’s PhD at University of Nairobi, which also looks at patterns of water supply continuity.

Research Projects

Jim coordinates the Water and Waste project, which looks jointly at the issues of water and waste management among off-grid urban communities in Ghana and Kenya. These two issues are particularly inter-related where water is sold in bottles or plastic bags, a widespread practice in Ghana and a growing trend in many countries.

As well as coordinating MRC-funded work on sachet water safety in Ghana, Jim has previously coordinated the OneHealthWater project, looking at the risk of disease transmission from livestock to people via water. He also coordinated Groundwater2030, which examined issues surrounding urban groundwater use in Kisumu and formed part of the UpGro initiative on African groundwaters.


Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Research project(s)

Sustaining groundwater safety in peri-urban areas

Enhancing Understanding of Domestic Groundwater Quality and Contamination Hazards in Greater Accra

OneHealthWater: Drinking-water under a “One Health” lens - quantifying microbial contamination pathways between livestock and drinking-water

Urban Drinking Water and Health Outcomes - Early Phase Study for a Randomized Controlled Trial in Accra, Ghana

Impact champion for Geography and Environmental Science

Programme leader – MSc in GIS (WUN)

Module co-ordinator for 

GEOG6035 (online dissertation),

GEOG3006/GEOG2021 Advanced GIS, and 

GEOG6094 GIS for Analysis of Health

Professor Jim Wright
University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 44/2047

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