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Dr Attila Lazar BEng, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Attila Lazar's photo

Dr Attila Lazar is Senior Research Fellow within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Systemic thinking and cross-disciplinary research is essential in the 21st century to drive science forward and to be able to better support decision making.

Attila is an environmental engineer and modeller with a hydrological background. His recent research focuses on the dynamic modelling of interlinked bio-physical and human systems. He and his team applies novel model techniques to explore the future evolution of the environment and human well-being with a strong focus on deltaic environments. He has developed trans-disciplinary methods and approaches by collaborating closely with modellers, social scientists, demographers, lawyers and economists. Attila also conducts hydro-ecosystem-based research by modelling hydrology, water quality and aquatic ecology. He is a member of Member of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the British Hydrological Society, the British Ecological Society, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Community Surface Dynamics Modelling System (CSDMS - Coastal Working Group).

Brief career history:

Research interests


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

In 2012, Attila moved to the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton where he has been 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 and Attila developed the Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model (ΔDIEM) which simulates the effects of environmental change and their effects on rural livelihoods. The coupling of engineering, natural system and welfare models is innovative and unusual. ΔDIEM is being applied in new research projects such as a catalyst fund project of the University of Oxford led REACH programme and within a new ESPA Bridge project to assess a series of projects proposed in the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. This research is conducted with the General Economic Division of the Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh. 

The follow-up DECCMA project (2014-18) is similar and strongly builds on the generated knowledge within the ESPA Deltas project, but the focus is less on policy influence and more fundamental research. DECCMA aims to understand what drives migration in deltaic environments and what the likely influence of climate and environmental change is on migration now and in the future. The project considers a wide range of household adaptation options (including migration) and national interventions within a transdisciplinary project setting. Attila leads a team of integrators that formally bring together the project elements (natural sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences, economics and governance) in a quantitative integrative model.

Attila’s research on river basin management brings together the 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 has also 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 also 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 also done EU Water Framework Directive related ecological status assessments (TEOTIL, SWAT models, ecological reference condition surveys).


ESPA Delta project - Integrated modelling - Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model
A poor person in coastal Bangladesh - Rice field - ΔDIEM within the ESPA Deltas project
DECCMA project, Integrated analysis of environmental change and human migration
Coast and Agriculture field in Ghana - Busy road in Kolkata - Conceptual model of the DECCMA integrated model
Riverine Vegetation Composition Model
River Frome (UK) - Primary producer interaction model results.
Wetland Plant Community Model
Tadham moor, Somerset - Bayesian Network model of wetland plant communities.
INCA-Sediment model
River Lugg - Atlantic salmon - Model calibration & management effectiveness results
ICWALPA project
Modified PITMAN model - Sugarcane - Simulated reservoir volumne under different irrigation scenarios - Favourable changes in flow patterns

Research group

Energy and Climate Change

Affiliate research group

Coastal Engineering and Management

Research project(s)

ESPA Deltas

Belmont Forum DELTAS

Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation

Enhancing the Delta Dynamic Integrated Emulator Model and Concepts to support REACH goals

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Book Chapters


Dr Attila Lazar
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute University of Southampton Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus Southampton SO16 7QF

Room Number: Regus Cumberland Hse/104

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