COVID-19 Updates: For advice and updates for staff, students, and applicants who may have concerns about the coronavirus outbreak please visit our Situation Updates page.

Research Profile

Prof Ian

Professor of Geomorphology

Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology

  • ​​Ian is Professor of Geomorphology in the School of Science and Technology.  He graduated with a BSc in Geography from the University of London, King’s College and holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Exeter. He is currently a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and is a Chartered Geographer. He holds visiting Charis at Rhodes University, South Africa and at the University of Westminster. He holds and has held a number of committee roles for national and international organisations:​

    • Director at large, International Association for Sediment Water Science (IASWS)
    • Organising committee for IASWS conference to be held in Grahamstown, South Africa in July 2014

    Former Member

    • Executive Committee, Field Studies Council
    • NERC Freshwater Sciences Peer Review Committee
    • Member of the Ralph Brown Expedition Award Committee for the Royal Geographical Society
  • Ian teaches Physical Geography across all three years of the undergraduate programme and also runs a Research Methods module for several MSc programmes. He also contributes to the Midland Postgraduate Consortium of Universities that offers postgraduate training to PhD students in Physical Geography. Modules on which Ian teaches are;

    • ENV1107 Principles of Physical Geography  
    • ENV2108 Geomorphology (Module Tutor)
    • ENV2123 Physical Geography Practical
    • ENV3110 Dryland Environments
    • ENV3130 Understanding Change in Physical Geography (Module Tutor)
    • ENV4106 Earth Science and Physical Geography Dissertation
    • ENVM002 Research Methods (Module Tutor)
    • ENVSCIPDP Personal Portfolio Development Seminar (For Personal Tutees)
  • Ian is a Geomorphologist with over 35 years research experience working in the UK, Europe, the circum-Mediterranean region and, more recently, in South Africa. After graduating from the Universities of London (King’s College) and Exeter, Ian has spent many years researching issues concerning land degradation, erosion, water quality and climate change. He has specialist interests and expertise in catchment process studies and in reconstructing environmental change from sedimentary archives contained in lakes and reservoirs. 

    His current research focus is in South Africa where, with NERC, British Academy and South African Research Council funding, he has been monitoring erosion rates and exploring the potential to use a range of techniques (e.g. Sediment geochemistry, mineral magnetism, gamma emitting radionuclides) to reconstruct and interpret the history of land degradation from sediments deposited in farm reservoirs. Much of this research is collaborative and includes researchers from a range of UK (e.g. Aberdeen, Oxford, Sheffield) and overseas Universities (e.g Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan and Rhodes). 

    Ian has supervised 25 research students to completion working on a range of topics including dust provenancing in Amman, Jordan; reconstructing recent environmental change in the Peloponnese; sediment source tracing in lowland UK catchments; monitoring heavy metal contamination in urban rivers and saline incursion into coastal freshwater lagoons. 

    He is currently supervising 5 PhD students at Northampton working on problems of sediment management in lowland UK catchments (3 students), an analysis of the fate of natural and man-made radionuclides in urban freshwater systems and developing resilience to climate change in Jordan.​

  • For publications, projects, datasets, research interests and activities, view Ian Foster’s research profile on Pure, the University of Northampton’s Research Explorer.