Research Student Spotlight March: Eleanor Pearson

Our monthly spotlight on the work and lives of the next generation of water@leeds researchers.
This month:  Eleanor Pearson
PhD title: Modelling the interactions between geomorphological processes and Natural Flood Management
School/ Faculty: School of Geography
Supervisors: Dr Jonathan Carrivick, Prof. Rob Lamb (Lancaster), Dr Andrew Sleigh, Prof. Nigel Wright (visiting Professor, School of Geography)

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I grew up in Nottingham and came to Leeds as an undergraduate. Prior to my PhD I undertook a Masters by Research in Geography, which gave me a good idea as to what a PhD was going to be like.

Why did you choose Leeds?

After my undergraduate degree, I took opportunities I’d heard about in the department to apply for a Masters and then a PhD. The Geography community is wonderful and there’s always a friendly face to talk to. My PhD was also CASE funded, allowing me to undertake a placement at JBA Consulting and learn from leaders in their field in industry as well as academia.

What is your research about?

My research has focused on the geomorphological impacts of runoff attenuation features – a type of Natural Flood Management which includes the popular leaky barrier. The two main concerns relating to geomorphology are erosion causing the feature to failure and not store water, and deposition upstream of the feature resulting in less water storage potentially making future flooding worse. I examined these processes using numerical modelling in relation to different designs of runoff attenuation feature.

What did you wish you knew before starting a PhD?

I wish I’d attended more conferences throughout my PhD. They’re great opportunities to meet new people, explore outside your topic and get creative ideas on how to present your research in a captivating way. Both my final year conferences were held online due to the pandemic, so take every opportunity to travel and meet people in person when you can as you don’t know what will happen in the future!

What are your plans for the future?

In January this year I started working for JBA Consulting as an analyst in their hydro-ecology team focusing on Natural Flood Management. I have been able to directly apply the skills I learnt in my PhD in my new role and I have built on the connections I had made during my placement.

Follow Eleanor on twitter here