Professor Alison Raby
Professor in Environmental Fluid Mechanics
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
- Coastal engineering
- Water waves
- Storm damage from waves
- Coastal flooding
- Tsunami damage
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Leader of the COAST Engineering Research Group
DPhil 'Extreme Waves, Overtopping and Flooding at Sea Defences', University of Oxford (2003)
PhD 'Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of Perfusion and Diffusion in MRI', University of Surrey (1992)
BSc Hons 'Physics with Mathematics', University of Sussex (1988)
Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Sea-level rise is inevitable. We need to adapt to avoid the greatest harm
COP26: Examining the evidence for global action
Examining the long-term recovery from tsunamis
Alison is taking part in a series of international missions with Earthquake Engineers Field Investigation Teams (EEFIT).
Predicting wave impact to safeguard coastal communities
“Ever since childhood, I’ve been inspired by waves. I grew up by the sea and spent time in and on the sea – swimming, sailing and surfing. I’m awestruck by the beauty and force of waves, and the destruction they can cause.”
Predicting wave impact on marine structures
Alison is an expert on the interactions of extreme waves with coastal structures.
REF Impact Case Study
Provision of tools, techniques and international standards guidance to those responsible for the maintenance of historic rock lighthouses under current and future predicted extreme wave loading
COAST Engineering Research Group
A leading team of coastal and ocean engineering researchers carrying out both fundamental and applied research.
In recent years my teaching portfolio has included Coastal Engineering, Advanced Hydraulic Engineering, Interdisciplinary Design, and leading the MSc dissertation projects.
I'm interested in understanding how structures withstand extreme wave loading. Historic lighthouses, seawalls and breakwaters are still standing after many years, having endured an incredible battering. There is no rest for them, as they are still required to warn mariners of hidden perils beneath the waves, or to protect critical infrastructure. However, even modern structures have famously failed in the face of tsunami waves of unimaginable size. I've led a number of research projects, mostly funded by the EPSRC (OVI, X-MED, FROTH, ENFORCE, STORMLAMP), that have tried to understand the wave loading phenomena and the design of structures in the marine environment.
I've also developed an interest in debris flow and flooding, recently securing NERC funding for two projects: C-FLOOD and SENSUM.
The facilities in our COAST Laboratory have been brilliant to use as we try to physically model different scenarios. I've also been known to go into the field for my research and occasionally get involved in numerical modelling.
Grants & contracts
I am currently Principal Investigator on the following research grants:
C-FLOOD – Compound flooding from tropical cyclone-induced sea surge and precipitation in Sri Lanka 2018-2020, NERC grant number NE/S005838/1
STORMLAMP – Structural behaviour Of Rock Mounted Lighthouses At the Mercy of imPulsive waves 2016-2020, EPSRC grant number EP/N022947/1
I am currently Co-Investigator on the following research grants:
SENSUM: Smart SENSing of landscapes Undergoing hazardous hydrogeological Movement 2020 - 2022, NERC Reference : NE/V003402/1
H2020-MSCA-RISE-2016 – “Reliability and safety engineering and technology for large maritime engineering systems” (RESET, 730888).
I was the Principal Investigator on the following research grants:
Post earthquake field investigation of the M8.0 Samoa Islands earthquake and tsunami of September 29, 2009, EPSRC Nov 2009-Jan 2010, EPSRC Grant Number EP/H043314/1 (£34,000)
Fundamentals of overtopping from violent wave imapcts (OVI), EPSRC Grant Number EP/D080533/1, 2006-2008 (University of Plymouth: £170,000, University of Bristol: £140,000).
I was Co-Investigator on:
ENFORCE – Extreme responses using NewWave: Forces, Overtopping and Runu-up in Coastal Engineering, 2013-2015, EPSRC Grant Number EP/K024108/1
FROTH: Fundamentals and Reliability of Offshore Structure Hydrodynamics, EPSRC November 2012-October 2015, EPSRC Grant Number EP/J012866/1 (£436,113)
X-MED: EXtreme Loading of Marine Energy Devices due to Waves, Current, Flotsam and Mammal Impact, EPSRC, February 2012-January 2015, EPSRC Grant Number EP/J010235/1 (£901,377)
EEFIT Earthquake Mission Grant: Funding for Improved Response and Dissemination 2011 - 2016, EPSRC Grant Number EP/I01778X/1 (£205,494)
GWR and Embley Energy funded project, Survivability and Tuning of the Sperboy Wave Energy Converter (2008-11) £55,200.
Joint industry-funded CASE PhD Studentship with HR Wallingford and involvement from the Environment Agency, Understanding the failure mechanisms of seawalls in a load dependent way (2010-13) £89,000.
Partner in Department for International Development (DfID) funded project led by Engineers Against Poverty: Developing a curriculum for Global Engineering (2009-2012). Total grant value: £259,450.
Holder of a University of Plymouth Teaching Fellowship Award: The Global Engineer (2006-07). Total value: £5,000. Work that was undertaken on this small grant led to a new Engineers Without Borders student society and an invitation to become a partner in the above DfID project, with subsequent award of small grant (£3,000).
Key publications are highlightedJournals