Professor Richard Dawson


Richard Dawson

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Job title: Chair of Earth Systems Engineering
Division: School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Organisation: Newcastle University
Tags: Fellowship: Career Acceleration Fellowship
Related theme: Engineering Global uncertainties LWEC


I am a civil engineer by background, but I became interested in the wider influence of engineering systems beyond their physical form and the need to consider their broader environmental and social context. This philosophy is known as Earth Systems Engineering.

My Fellowship

Effective management of infrastructure and the built environment is challenged by ageing assets, global pressures such as climate change, shifting socio-economic demands and increased interdependence. Taking a whole systems view is crucial to ensure that well intended interventions to tackle one problem do not confound parallel initiatives to enhance sustainability or resilience.

This fellowship has enabled me to develop new modelling tools to understand the implications of these pressures on infrastructure and the built environment in order to improve infrastructure and urban engineering. Moreover, this career acceleration fellowship has provided me with the time and resources to build my own team to tackle this societal grand challenge.

Motivation to Apply

After a couple of contract research jobs, I found myself developing my own interests and research directions and a fellowship provided the ideal opportunity for career independence and advancement.

Career benefits of Fellowship

The fellowship gave me the time and space to develop my research in an independent direction, and build a team. It helped me increase my profile and productivity and accelerate my career.

Advice for future applicants

If you don't apply, you certainly won't win a fellowship. If you have an idea, are passionate about it and want to pursue an academic career then you should consider applying for a fellowship. I did not hesitate to ask for advice during this process and my colleagues were immensely supportive and helpful.