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Personal profile

Research interests

Phil Ashworth is a Professor of Physical Geography specialising in river morphodynamics and sedimentology.

Scholarly biography

Phil Ashworth commenced as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) from September 2017. He is also Professor of Physical Geography specialising in river morphodynamics and sedimentology.

As an Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Phil reports directly to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Tara Dean. He is responsible for ensuring that the actions arising out of the new University Research and Enterprise Strategic Plan are supported and implemented effectively to maximise the scale, quality, impact and international reach of the University’s research and enterprise. Phil leads development of the new Centres of Research and Enterprise Excellence (COREs) and provides strategic leadership on the investment of quality-related (QR) income and other financial matters. He is a member of the Executive-led 'Securing our Future' Group. Phil is also Chair of the recently-formed Joint Clinical Research Office based in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and serves on the Strategy Board of the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre.He works with Schools to motivate staff to produce excellent research and enterprise and is a central member of the REF2021 leadership team.

Phil is an international scholar in the earth, physical and environmental sciences with H-Index of 43 and over 4700 citations. He currently works on landscape evolution and sedimentation across a range of scales including the largest rivers and estuaries in the world. His research has been supported by over £5m of funding including 14 grants from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Phil has strong links with the petroleum industry and recent projects include working on the Albertan Oil Sands in Canada.

Phil has a strong association with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) where he was one of only 14 UK scientists invited to chair all the Responsive Mode grant panels (2010-2014). He has also chaired panels for Directed Programmes, Strategic Capital Equipment, International Opportunities and Global Partnerships. He also served on the EPSRC AI CDT panel. Phil was a council member and trustee of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) (2014-2017) and is a co-author of a recently published Benchmark Review of UK Physical Geography produced in association with the RGS. He was made a Fellow of the British Society for Geomorphology in 2014. Phil was appointed to the REF2021 UoA14 Geography and Environmental Studies sub-panel who have helped draft the Guidance on Submissions and Criteria and Methods in 2018.

Phil is a keen advocate of research dissemination through different media and has outputs on ResearchGateYouTube, and Twitter and has published articles in the Times Higher Education.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Stirling

External positions


1 Nov 2018 → …

REF2021 UoA14 Sub-panel Member

1 Mar 20181 Apr 2022

Fellow BSG (10% of membership)

1 Sep 2014 → …

Fellow RGS, Royal Geographical Society

2013 → …

NERC Grant Panel Chair

2010 → …


  • GB Physical geography
  • Rivers
  • Sediments
  • Floods
  • Channel pattern
  • Erosion
  • Deposition

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1986 2018

Hydrodynamic modelling of tidal-fluvial flows in a large river estuary

Sandbach, S. D., Nicholas, A. P., Ashworth, P., Best, J. L., Keevil, C., Parsons, D. R., Prokocki, E. W. & Simpson, C. J. 27 Jun 2018 212, p. 176-188

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
sediment transport

Morphology and spacing of river meander scrolls

Strick, R. J. P., Ashworth, P., Awcock, G. & Lewin, J. 9 Mar 2018 310, p. 57-68 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

The adaptation of dunes to changes in river flow

Reesink, A., Parsons, D., Ashworth, P., Best, J., Hardy, R., Murphy, B., McLelland, S. & Unsworth, C. 5 Sep 2018 185, p. 1065-1087

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

river flow
flow velocity

The impact of non-equilibrium flow on the structure of turbulence over river dunes

Unsworth, C., Parsons, D., Hardy, R., Reesink, A., Best, J., Ashworth, P. & Keevil, G. 24 Aug 2018

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

turbulent flow
flow field

International Benchmarking Review of UK Physical Geography

Thomas, D., Ashworth, P., Nield, J. & Souch, C. 1 Aug 2017 52 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access

Activities 2013 2013

NERC bedforms project site

Ashworth, P. (Participant)

Activity: Event