Dr Jonathan Bridge FRGS

Environmental geoscientist // Geographer // Soil and porous media // Water, flood and landscape

Picture of Jon Bridge on fieldwork in Jordan in 2013

I currently hold an academic position as Reader/Associate Professor in Environmental Geoscience in the Department of the Natural and Built Environment at Sheffield Hallam University. From 2012-2017 I taught in the Centre for Engineering Sustainability at the University of Liverpool. I spent 9 years as a PhD and postdoctoral researcher in the Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group at The University of Sheffield. I completed undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at University College London (MSci Planetary Science) and Birkbeck, University of London (MSc Environmental Sciences).

My primary research expertise, originating in my PhD work, is in the transport and fate of contaminants and colloids in soils and porous media. Through my time at Liverpool (2012-17) this work focused on applications in the nuclear industry and in environmental radioactivity, in collaboration with National Nuclear Laboratories in the UK and with partners in the UK, Japan and Taiwan. Past collaborators in Liverpool include Dr Andrew Boston (Physics), Dr James Cooper and Prof Neil Macdonald (both Environmental Sciences).

At Sheffield Hallam, my interests have broadened to encompass field-based hydrology and increasingly hydro-sociology, working with Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust to monitor Natural Flood Management interventions in small catchments on the Eastern Pennines around Sheffield. This has led to a range of exciting new applied and interdisciplinary research avenues, including an AHRC-funded collaboration on art and co-design in landscape decision-making, with Dr Niamh Downing, Prof Harriet Tarlo (SHU) and a network of academics, community and professional partners.

I have a track-record of research activity across the environmental geosciences. My early postdoctoral work was in soil- and waterborne pathogens and human health (invited paper in Bulletin of the World Health Organization), numerical and agent-based simulation of soil biogeochemical processes, and colloid transport and fate in porous media (including collaboration with Dr Claire Corkhill, Immobilisation Science Lab, The University of Sheffield). I also have strong interests in catchment-scale water and contaminant dynamics, in particular in semi-arid catchments in the Middle East (Jordan) and in application to supraglacial and pro-glacial environments. I have a longstanding interest in glacier surface processes (collaboration with Dr Tris Irvine-Fynn, Aberystwyth), particularly in the dynamics of sediments, biocolloids and chemical fate and transport in the weathering crust of glaciers.

My most recent work has involved collaboration with a team of Syrian academics supported by the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara), who have collected the first regional baseline soil survey in North-West Syria since before the start of the Civil War in 2011.

1. Overview of Activity

  • September 2022 – travelled to Gaziantep, Turkey to work for 4 days with a team of Syrian academics led by Prof Miassar Alhasan, who have collected the first data on soil pollution in North-West Syria since the start of the devastating conflict there in 2011. Supported by the Council for At-Risk Academics Syria Programme.
  • August 2022 – honoured to have been awarded one of fifteen Sheffield Hallam Inspirational Teaching Awards, nominated by my amazing MSc Environmental Management students.
  • July 2022 – fifth and final paper from Yuan et al. has been published in Journal of Hazardous Materials. Innovative work on low-cost technology for arsenic remediation in rice cultivation.
  • November 2021 – excited to be part of a 12 month Defra ‘Test and Trial’ project led by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, exploring the potential of Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) for effective water outcomes through landscape-scale farm management. With partners in Yorkshire Water, Environment Agency, and Natural Capital Solutions.
  • September 2021 – touched to have been nominated for awards in three categories this year: Outstanding Student Support, Inspirational Teacher, and Inspirational Research Supervisor.
  • April 2021 – really pleased that the fourth peer-reviewed journal article from superb work by Zhaofeng Yuan et al. has been published. Privileged to be part of a really excellent research team led by Dr Zheng Chen (XJTLU). My role originated as Liverpool co-supervisor on Yuan’s PhD. A real pleasure to collaborate on important environmental science and technology research.
  • October 2020-February 2021 – delighted to be director of studies for two new postgraduate students, Karuna Pimprasan and Krystle Morley, both investigating different aspects of flooding and hydro-sociological systems. Co-supervising with Dr Rebecca Sharpe, Prof Harriet Tarlo and Dr Kev Spence, all at Sheffield Hallam.
  • May 2020 – I have taken on the role of Course Leader for MSc Environmental Management, looking forward to getting back into PG teaching
  • January 2020 – very pleased to have been promoted to Reader at Sheffield Hallam!
  • October 2019 – exciting new AHRC-funded collaboration ‘HydroSpheres’ with Dr Niamh Downing, starting Jan 2020 and running for two years as part of the UKRI Landscape Decision-Making programme
  • September 2019 – leading the delivery of two new / radically redesigned modules: Fieldwork and Professional Skills for first-year BSc Geography students, part of the flagship Highly Skilled Employment initiative at Hallam; and Natural Hazards, a major module for third year geographers and environmental scientists. We’ll be co-creating a published yearbook of global natural hazards 2018-19 – watch out for this in 2020!
  • May 2019 – 6 monitoring stations installed in small catchments within the Sheffield Lakelands, baseline monitoring for a 4-year investigation of conservation-led Natural Flood Management with the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust
  • May 2019 – another year, another successful Iceland student fieldtrip. This time focused on the geology and geoconservation issues in the Reykjanes Peninsula Geopark.
  • April 2019 – I led the delivery of an international workshop funded by the British Council Newton-Khalidi fund, working with UK and Jordanian early-career researchers to develop new research ideas and collaborations in the area of sustainable water resource, flood and catchment management. Thanks to partners at Mu’tah University, Kerak, Jordan, especially Dr Esra’a Tarawneh.
  • March 2019 – representing Hallam at an international workshop on access to HE for refugee, migrant and displaced people, organised by the Association of Commonwealth Universities in Edinburgh. This in my role of co-lead for the Hallam Guild group on Migration, Refuge and the University.
  • November 2018 – funding success – British Council Newton-Khalidi fund workshop on water resource management with partners in Jordan, to be held April 2019!
  • October 2018 – my second PhD student, Dr Peyman Babakhani, successfully defends his thesis in viva! Now at University of Leeds.
  • August 2018 – fabulous 3-week research fieldwork supporting Dr Rob Storrar in glacial geomorphological investigations at Skalafellsjokull, SE Iceland
  • May 2018 – second year of Iceland student field trip, investigating sub-glacial eruption products in the Sida province of South Iceland
  • October 2017 – my first PhD student, Dr Esra’a Tarawneh, successfully defends her thesis in viva! Now at Mu’tah University, Jordan.
  • June 2017 – excited to be involved in inspirational project with school pupils at Manchester Academy, ‘Mapping Interfaces’, led by Dr Stephanie Koerner and focused in bridging the gaps between humanities and engineering with an emphasis on understanding how the long view underpins modern day careers.
  • May 2017 – 5-day fieldtrip to Iceland with SHU Level 5 students. Excellent fieldwork on glacier forefield weathering processes and exciting Atlantic storms made a memorable trip.
  • March 2017 – pleased to accompany my PhD student Peyman Babakhani to present our research at NanoImpact 2017 – Environmental Fate and Transport of Nanomaterials conference in Monte Verita, Ascona, Switzerland.
  • February 2017 – new role! Now Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Sheffield Hallam University, exciting opportunity to return to my earth and environmental science roots.
  • January 2017 – 3-day visit to Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou China to test technology for live weblinks between student classes and groups using Adobe Connect, to enhance teaching in hydrology and hydraulics. Also discussed research in soil mycorrhizae with Dr Phil Staddon and projects in soil As transport with Dr Zheng Chen
  • December 2016 – highly successful end to pilot-year CIVE113 Introduction to Civil and Architectural Engineering module, a problem-driven, open-ended creative module for L4 undergraduates. Culminated in a presentation session judged by two of our senior industry partners, who were so impressed that the winning team was offered on the spot an all-expenses-paid site visit to the Thames Tideway project in London (on which the module was based)
  • September 2016 – hosted the joint Liverpool-ENEP summer school, welcoming a group from the University of Tsukuba, Japan and joining them with 3 of my PhD students on field visits to Dalton Cumbrian Facility, NNL Workington, University of Kiev and Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, including the abandoned city of Pripyat.
  • September 2016 – participated in the COMET environmental radioactivity field course, Kiev/Chernobyl and visit to the IAEA laboratories, Seibersdorf, Vienna.
  • June 2016 – visited Bangkok and Phitsanulok, Thailand as part of a NERC-Newton Fund workshop to forge links with SE Asian partners. Visited colleague Dr Tanapon Phenrat, Naresuan University, with whom we are developing exciting projects in citizen science monitoring of water quality indicators using adapted mobile phones.
  • May 2016 – attended in Stockholm an important meeting of scientists interested in the critical situation at the Mosul Dam, Iraq, hosted by Prof Nadhir Al-Ansari. With colleague Dr Ziad Abdeldayem, we have received funding to acquire and process a substantial set of inSAR (satellite radar interferometry) in an attempt to establish remote monitoring and early warning of structural collapse.
  • March 2016 – launched website FloodNET ( to host and disseminate results a new flood modelling and flood risk communication model based on agent-based model framework Netlogo.
  • December 2015 – completed first phase of a wide-ranging strategic review of civil engineering programme provision at University of Liverpool. Recommendations reported to senior management and programme staff and taken up into subsequent recruitment planning and job descriptions.
  • June 2015 – attended the 5th International Colloids Conference in Amsterdam with PhD student Dan Tudor.
  • June 2015 – 10-day trip to Far East, participating in a Liverpool-organised Russell Group workshop on sustainable cities, met with my PhD students studying in Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, and then touring the Fukushima region with Japan Ministry of Forestry representatives to inspect field sites for potential application of advanced environmental radiometry. Hosted by Prof Yuichi Onda at the University of Tsukuba.
  • April 2015 – invited lecture and thoroughly enjoyable three-day trip to Clemson University, South Carolina to discuss results of NERC project and possible future collaborations in environmental radioactivity
  • March 2015 – NNL consultancy and NERC TPoC grants completed, successful proof of concept for time-lapse gamma radiometry of radionuclide transport through soils.
  • December 2014 – Completed third annual One-Week Creation teaching, this time leading the first-year Civil Engineers on the EWB challenge to develop appropriate technology solutions for a village in Nepal
  • November 2014 – invited plenary lecture at NTHU Taiwan, as part of the SE Asia Joint Training Programme on Low Carbon Energy and Green Technology for Sustainable Environmental Development. Led a 4.5 hour session on climate change, environmental change, the food-water-energy nexus, cities, resilience and sustainable design, to a class of graduate students and academics from across SE Asia
  • Two CDT PhD students start, Dan Tudor (Next Generation Nuclear) and Tom Woodroof (Risk CDT), both with NNL/Sellafield as industrial partners.
  • October 2014 – £10K consultancy project for NNL following up the previous shorter KTP project
  • September 2014 – Syrian Ziad Abdeldayem joined me for 12 months minimum as an Honorary Research Fellow on a fellowship granted by CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics)
  • June 2014 – Presented on engineering education for sustainable development at the University of Liverpool Learning & Teaching conference
  • Peyman Babakhani started his scholarship at NTHU under the dual PhD scheme
  • March 2014 – PDRA Jamie Dormand started work on one-year NERC Technology Proof of Concept project to develop environmental Compton-geometry gamma radiation sensors
  • Shorter KTP project with NNL on colloid filtration has started (October 2013) with Petros Tsamatropoulos as the Research Associate on a 6-month project.
  • Successful fieldwork in the Wadi Wala catchment, Jordan with PhD student Esraa Tarawneh in October 2014
  • Secured funding to run the 2013-14 Civils Year 1 One-Week Creation as the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, a national competition for engineering students to engage with and develop engineering solutions to problems faced by real communities in the developing world
  • We have made offers to 3 PhD students, two on the dual PhD scheme with NTHU Taiwan, starting Winter 2013/14
  • In July 2013 I secured a 6-month shorter KTP in partnership with Dr Mark Bankhead at NNL, to develop a bespoke version of my Time-Lapse Fluorescence Imaging experimental technique for application to industrial filtration models developed by NNL. We are hopeful the project will lead to longer-term research collaboration
  • I am co-supervising Phd students with Dr Stephen Wilkinson at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, as the essential Liverpool link supervisor required for award of their degrees. Projects in the area of engineering biomineralisation
  • Summer 2013 MSc project students Petros Tsamatropoulos and Lucy Khoang are conducting the first research projects in the new laboratory, looking at the effects of polyelectrolytes on colloid aggregation and filtration, and the effects of compaction on soil pore structure and flow characteristics
  • PhD student Esra’a Tarawneh is combining GIS-based modelling, field sampling and laboratory experiments to better understand and manage sediment and contaminant transfers to an artificial recharge dam in Wadi Wala, Jordan (co-supervised by Dr Neil Macdonald, Liverpool and Dr Mo’ayyad Shawaqfah, Al Bayt University, Jordan)
  • In January 2013 I participated in a research development visit to the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan to discuss development of dual-funded PhD scholarship projects and other research and teaching collaborations.
  • In January 2013 I led the submission of a £3.4M consortium bid to the NERC Radioactivity and the Environment programme for an exciting suite of coupled multiscale lab and field experiments centred on post-release dynamics of Cs-137 in soils, using Fukushima Japan as a major field site. Unfortunately the bid was unsuccessful at the final breakdown but experience of co-ordinating 9 investigators across 4 institutions and facing a 20-strong panel was extremely good.
  • In December 2012 I visited Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China to discuss research and teaching links and am following this by developing PhD research proposals with Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Department of Civil Engineering, XJTLU.
  • From July 2012-February 2013 I managed the £200K refurbishment of an ageing geotechics teaching laboratory to provide modern research and teaching facilities in soils and environmental engineering science.
  • From October 2011-August 2012 I was an post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Sheffield working on an EPSRC/University of Sheffield Early Career Researcher grant to design and prototype a robust fluorescence label for metallic (including silver) nanoparticles (NP). The aim was to enable sensitive detection in intact soil sections and laboratory porous media using fluorimetry, microscopy and fluorescence imaging. A second work package was to assess the feasibility of X-ray CT for imaging silver and/or gold NP in intact soil cores at environmentally-relevant concentrations. Work on this is ongoing via postgraduate student projects.
  • From June 2008 to October 2011 I was PDRA on a multi-institution NERC-funded consortium on biologically-mediated weathering of minerals (PI Prof. Steven Banwart, Sheffield). My role was to use numerical modelling and computer simulation to interpret experiment measurements of nutrient uptake from soil minerals by ectomycorrhizal fungi, and couple these with process models of mycelium growth to establish quantitative relationships between carbon energy supply to the rhizosphere from plants, and rates of mineral dissolution.
  • My first RA appointment (April 2007 – June 2008) was as project co-ordinator (Researcher Co-Investigator) for a working group under the NERC/Joint Research Councils Environment and Human Health Programme. I directed a multidisciplinary team of experts in an assessment of critical knowledge gaps and research needs in the area of mitigating risks to human health from soil- and waterborne pathogens. The group’s findings directly influenced the subsequent NERC 2009 Theme Action Plan and were invited for publication as a perspective article in the Bulletin of the WHO.
  • My PhD (Sept 2003 – Nov 2007) was supervised by Prof. Steven Banwart at the University of Sheffield and Prof. Louise Heathwaite at Lancaster University. The research area was in the use of time-lapse fluorescence imaging to make high-resolution studies of colloid particle transport through unsaturated and non-uniform flow in porous media and I was honoured to be examined by the late Prof. Charles O’Melia (Johns Hopkins University). The research resulted in 3 peer-reviewed articles in Environmental Science & Technology and several conference papers.

2. Knowledge Transfer, Outreach and Teaching

  • From January 2019: Working with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to support delivery of conservation-led Natural Flood Management, citizen science for hydrological monitoring, and story-telling elicitation of embedded hydrological knowledge from community and land-users.
  • From May 2017: Joined the delivery team for Mapping Interfaces, an exciting project bridging humanities, STEM and careers, with the aim to develop and transfer to the Sheffield City Region in future years.
  • March 2017: Participated in Royal Society workshop on schools engagement for researchers.
  • Feb-May 2017: Teaching on modules at Sheffield Hallam University including fieldwork, water quality, water management, minerals and waste.
  • Jan 2017: Readership on The Conversation website passed 100,000.
  • 2015-2017: Led delivery of Level 6 CIVE316 Sustainable Water Management. Developed and ran a new Level 4 problem-based module introducing new civil engineering students to complex, multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary projects with the Thames Tideway as a case study. Excellent responses and strong industry interactions.
  • Dec 2014: ENGG123 One Week Creation (Civil Engineering) – Engineers Without Borders Challenge, this year focusing on a community in Nepal.
  • From Sept 2014: CIVE449 Environmental Site Assessment, a professionally-focused module on contaminated land risk assessment, co-taught with Prof Greg Beattie (Arup Liverpool)
  • From July 2014: Online articles written for  The Conversation, reaching an international audience of 46,000
  • Semester 1 2013-14: ENGG106 One Week Creation (Civil Engineering) – Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Challenge – engineering design solutions in a community in Timor L’Este
  • Oct 2013-Mar 2014: Shorter KTP project with industrial partner National Nuclear Laboratory
  • From Sept 2013: CIVE319 Water Resources Engineering, a major 3rd year module for Civil Engineering undergraduates, co-taught over two semesters with Dr Xiaoxian Zhang
  • Jan 2013-ongoing: Programme Director, Civil Engineering Postgraduate Taught programmes, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool. Responsibility for admissions , course design and management, long-term recruitment, admissions and teaching strategy.
  • Semester 1 2012-13: ENGG107 One Week Creation (Civil Engineering).
  • Semester 1 2012-13: School of Engineering Icebreaker Week.
  • November 2011: Academic secretary, workshop held at the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, “OSCAR: Optimising Soil Chemistry for Agriculture and Resource Efficiency” (see publication [8] below).
  • 2011-2012: Undergraduate courses at The Institute for Lifelong Learning, Sheffield – ACE3265 Evolution and Life on Earth, and ACE2335 ID, Recording and Practice (Fieldwork Skills). TILL offers full University of Sheffield degrees in the natural sciences and arts via part-time and modular learning.
  • Supervision of undergraduate project on CIV402 (Individual ERASMUS dissertation) at the University of Sheffield.
  • Technical/laboratory supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations (including an IAESTE project).
  • From 2011-2012 I was an expert respondent for the internet/mobile app ‘Hidden Science’, part of The Science Council’s online STEM careers resource,
  • STEMNET Ambassador for science, technology and engineering education in schools since March 2011. Classroom presentations to Year 10 science pupils at Bradfield School, Sheffield during National Science Week 2011.

3. Research Grants and Funding

  • Defra T&T (subcontractor). ELMS trial on water quality through farm management. Total grant £100,000 [£18,500]
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council. Research Network grant ‘HydroSpheres’. Co-investigator. Jan 2020-Dec 2021 [£45,000]
  • British Council Newton-Khalidi Fund. Researcher Links workshop on sustainable water resource and catchment management, Jordan. April 2019. [£16,500]
  • Consultancy to provide monitoring for NFM interventions in Sheffield Lakeland Landscape Partnership, Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Jan 2019-Dec 2022. [£10,000]
  • Extended consultancy to provide support for rig work experiments on colloid filtration for National Nuclear Laboratory, October 2014-March 2015. Lead investigator. [£10,000]
  • Extended consultancy to provide support for rig work experiments on colloid filtration for National Nuclear Laboratory, October 2014-March 2015. Lead investigator. [£10,000]
  • Consultancy to provide support for rig work experiments on colloid filtration for National Nuclear Laboratory, October 2014-March 2015. Lead investigator. [£10,000]
  • Next Generation Nuclear CDT studentship October 2014-September 2018
  • Risk Institute CDT studentship October 2014-September 2018
  • NERC Technology Proof of Concept grant “Advanced Compton-geometry gamma radiation imaging for radionuclide measurement in soils and geomaterials”, Principal Investigator [£155,000]
  • Technology Strategy Board-funded shorter KTP with National Nuclear Laboratory, Knowledge Base Supervisor [£44,550]
  • Liverpool-NTHU Dual PhD Scholarship “Influence of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) on biofilms in soils and aggregate stability” Principal supervisor
  • University of Liverpool LWEC Theme Pump-Priming grant “Effect of more extreme wet-dry cycles on soil stability and contaminant migration” Principal Investigator [£3,500]
  • XJTLU Postgraduate Research Scholarship “Stimulated microbial activity for sustainable geotechnical remediation of unlined/uncontrolled municipal solid waste disposal sites” Liverpool Co-Supervisor
  • EPSRC Small Grants for Early Career Researchers scheme, share of a £500K grant to the University of Liverpool. Co-Investigator[£22,250]
  • Consultancy to provide a technical literature review on particle transport in porous media for National Nuclear Laboratories, January-March 2012. Co-Investigator (sole author)[£4,000]
  • EPSRC Sheffield KTA Research Enterprise Innovation Fund grant “Sheffield Engineering Enterprise Development (SEED) Fund” January 2012 – March 2013. Lead Co-Investigator[£25,000]
  • EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account / University of Sheffield Early Career Researcher Grant “NANOFX: building foundations for fluorescence and X-ray probing of nanoparticle tracers in soils and porous media” October 2011 – August 2012. Principal Investigator. [£69,900].
  • NERC / Joint Research Councils Environment and Human Health Programme Working Group “Going Underground: Health Risks from Pathogens in the Soil-Water Environment” April 2007 – December 2008. Researcher Co-Investigator (project co-ordinator). [£62,400].

4. Professional and External Standing

  • International expert panel member, Romanian UEFISCDI science and technology research council. 2011, 2016, 2019
  • Chair, Yorkshire and the North East Region, Royal Geographical Society (2023-, secretary from 2020, member 2018)
  • Co-lead, Sheffield Hallam Guild group ‘Migration, Refuge and the University’, with Krassie Teneva (Head of International Student Experience). 2018-2020
  • Elected member of the University of Liverpool Senate, term August 2013-August 2016
  • Chartered Scientist, (CSci), with IEnvSc as sponsoring body, 2013-2021
  • Member of Institute of Environmental Sciences (MIEnvSc), 2013-2021
  • Member of the NERC Peer Review College, since 2010.
  • Visiting Researcher at the Kroto Research Institute, University of Sheffield, 2012-2015.
  • Communications Officer 2011-2012, Engineering Researcher Society, University of Sheffield
  • I won one of only eight EPSRC/University of Sheffield Early Career Researcher Grants which secured funding for an independent programme of research through August 2012.
  • I convened and co-chaired a well-attended session at the AGU Fall Meeting 2010, San Francisco with colleagues from Germany and the USA (session H21K: High-Resolution Hydrogeophysical Characterization of Soils and Aquifers From Microscale to Field Scale).
  • I have provided peer-review for high-impact international journals (including Science of the Total Environment, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Chemosphere, Environmental Research Letters, Environmental Science and Technology, Water Research, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Environmental Modelling and Software).
  • I am a member of peer review pools/colleges for international funding agencies including NSERC (Canada).
  • I was a finalist in the 2009 Perspectives poster competition at the British Science Festival, Guildford, with a public-focused poster entitled ‘Can we disinfect the great outdoors?’
  • I am a registered STEM Ambassador with STEMNet
  • I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and member of European Geosciences Union.

5. Publications

  • My ORCID page is available here.