Gerard Hamill


  • Room 01.010 - David Keir Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I conduct research into:
Groundwater supplies from coastal aquifers
Saline Intrusions in groundwater and in estuaries
Sediment scour at bridges and in harbours
The use of CFD to model hydraulics and water engineering applications

1988 …2024

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I am currently the Head of the School of Natural and Built Environment, and a Professor of Hydraulics and Water Engineering.  Water is the key to life: too much of it (floods) and humanity struggles to survive, too little of it (droughts) and we die.  I have accumulated over 30 years of experience in research, developing and delivering teaching across all aspects of Civil Engineering hydraulics.   I have a track record of research funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), EU FP7, Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).  I currently lead on EPSRC funded research on saline intrusion (SI) into potable freshwater coastal aquifers.  With the increase in global population, and the shift of communities to coastal zones,  a shortage of water exists in many areas and prevention of salt contamination will directly address the global challenge of water supply.  My research is aimed at delivering methodologies and technologies to prevent contamination from occurring and is fundamental to the health and economy of many countries on the DAC list of ODA recipients, some of whom are collaborators on SI research.

Research Statement

My research encompasses the major areas of water research that impacts humanity.  The provision of fresh potable water to many growing coastal communities is essential for the preservation of life.  My work on Saline Intrusion into freshwater coastal aquifer addresses this fundamental problem.  The research that I undertake into flooding and flood damage, directly links to the development of Sustainable Drainage Schemes (SuDS) and to scour protection for the bridges that form the backbone of our transport infrastructure. I hold research funning in all these areas ranging from EPSRC to industrially sponsored KTP programmes. I have published extensively in the major journals in my field, hold and have held editorial panel membership for several journals and am currently academic advisor to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.  I currently supervise 6 PhD students, four as first supervisor, three research staff and have supervised 22 previously successful PhD students.


As past Director of Education for Civil Engineering, and then for the School of Natural and Built Environment, I have extensive experience of both the delivery of teaching, the planning and accreditation of programmes and the development of innovations to improve the student’s educational experience.  I have taught at both UG and PGT levels on all aspects of Civil Engineering hydraulics and water engineering.  I have supervised design teams at stage 3 and 4 of our UG course and shared my research experience with students at both UG project and MSc dissertation levels.  I commissioned and developed the first learning glass studio (with picture in picture facilities) at QUB, an innovation in teaching that is being used by staff and that will be rolled out to students. I always seek to embrace teaching innovation and continue to work to make sure the student experience at Queens is second to none.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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