Coastal Processes Research Group (CPRG) – projects

CPRG undertake a range of research projects related to the coastal environment. 

Our projects vary in size and duration with funding coming from a variety of sources; research councils – Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) – local authorities, industry and charities. 

We collaborate with research groups within the University of Plymouth and form partnerships with academics from other universities.

Some examples of current projects can be found below along with details of some projects and work that has been recently completed. 

If you have a project in mind or would like to discuss collaborating please get in touch via email:


Location: North Cornwall, South Devon
Duration: 2016–2020

  • NERC £4 million project
  • Importance of sediment budgets and their role in coastal recovery
  • Model development of coastal change and coastal vulnerability
  • Holistic and multidisciplinary approach, combining the expertise of biologists, coastal engineers, geologists, geographers and oceanographers.

South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP)

Location: South West Coast of England and South Wales 

Duration: 2017–2020

  • NERC £400,000 funded project 
  • SWEEP wave model to enable better preparation for storm events in the South West
  • Aims to improve the level of detail and accuracy possible when predicting coastal flooding
  • Part of the wider South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) project. A new initiative that will help deliver economic and community benefits to the South West via multiple agencies.

Waves Across Shore Platforms (WASP)

Location: Various UK locations
Duration: 2014–2016

  • Detailed wave measurements across a range of rocky platforms around the UK coastline 
  • Mapping the decay in wave energy across intertidal rocky platforms 
  • Found measurements will be used to improve existing models which aim to provide a predictive tool for examining wave energy reaching our coastline which can cause erosion and cliff falls.

PDF of the case study

Dynamics of Rip currents and Implications of Beach Safety (DRIBS)

Location: Perranporth, UK
Duration: 2010–2013

  • Collect two extensive field data sets to investigate and parameterise the relation between wave dissipation and rip dynamics over time scales ranging from minutes to days
  • Use the field data to improve, validate and calibrate a numerical model (XBeach) capable of simulating nearshore cell circulation and rip current dynamics
  • Develop a decision-support system (DSS) to predict several days in advance, and for different stages of the tide, the risk presented by rip currents to surf-zone water users.

New understanding and prediction of storm impacts on gravel beaches (NUPSIG)

Location: Loe Bar, Cornwall
Duration: 2010–2013

  • Collect detailed field measurements of waves, swash, groundwater and bed level change on a gravel beach during storm conditions
  • Use the detailed field measurements to help develop a computer model to predict storm impact on gravel beaches
  • Collect an extensive data set on storm response on 11 UK gravel barrier systems, representing a range of environmental conditions
  • Use the extended dataset to verify the predictive capability of the storm impact model
  • Develop a tool for end-users for predicting berm formation, overtopping, overwashing and breaching of gravel beaches and barriers.

PDF of the case study

Turbulence, Sediment Stratification and Altered Resuspension under Waves (TSSARWaves)

Location: Plymouth and Praa Sands, UK
Duration: 2009–2013

  • Models of bathymetric evolution, in the nearshore region, are of fundamental importance for studies on the coastal impacts of global warming and relative sea level rise
  • Project aims to improve process-based models which are used to simulate onshore, offshore and longshore adjustments in nearshore bathymetry
  • Combination of laboratory experiments (oscillating grid turbulence tank), field measurements, and numerical simulations designed to improve our ability to reproduce observed morphology changes through the inclusion of missing physics.