Rebecca Lunn

Professor of Engineering Geosciences

Professor Becky Lunn has a Mathematics Degree from Cambridge University (BA, MA), an MSc in Engineering Hydrology from the University of Newcastle and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Newcastle. She worked as a Research Associate at the University of Newcastle from 1990-1997. In 1997, she joined the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Edinburgh as a Lecturer in Hydrogeology. She moved to Heriot Watt University in 2000 as a Lecturer in Water Engineering, and joined the University of Strathclyde as a Senior Lecturer in in 2005. In 2010, she obtained a Professorship in Civil Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, and in 2011 became the first female Head of an Engineering Department in Scotland. She is currently the Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Professor Lunn has over 20 years of research experience in engineering geosciences, with a particular focus on energy challenges such as nuclear decommissioning and disposal, geological carbon dioxide storage and production of oil and gas. She is an internationally leading researcher in geological disposal of radioactive waste, developing new technologies for grouting of rock fractures and for monitoring and design of engineered barriers. Since 2008 she has been a member of the Committee for Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which provides independent scrutiny and advice to government ministers, including the devolved Governments, on radioactive waste management and disposal. She was a member of the UK Government’s Ad Hoc Advisory Board on Nuclear Research and Development that made recommendations to government in 2013 and is currently an invited member of the Scottish Government Working Group on geothermal energy production.

Prof Lunn’s research experience is highly multi-disciplinary and she collaborates with structural geologists, seismologists, mathematicians, microbiologists, psychologists and statisticians. She has built an internationally recognised research group at Strathclyde and has a current research portfolio of over £5M. In particular, she leads two multi-university EPSRC national research projects investigating new technologies for nuclear decommissioning and disposal: ‘Biogeochemical Applications in Nuclear Decommissioning and Disposal’ (BANDD) and ‘a Systems Approach For Engineered Barriers (SAFE Barriers)’. Her contribution to research was recognised in June 2011, by the award of the Geological Society’s Aberconway Medal in recognition of ‘distinction in the practice of geology with special reference to work in industry’; she was both the first woman and the first engineer to receive this award. In 2014, Prof Lunn became the first female in civil engineering to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Alongside her departmental management and research leadership roles, Prof Lunn takes a keen interest in supporting women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She initiated, and now chairs, a faculty level group that organises and funds initiatives to support women in the Engineering Faculty from undergraduate level right through to senior academics. She was an invited member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Working Group on Women in STEM, which made recommendations to Scottish Ministers in 2012 (Tapping our Talents, RSE, 2012). In 2013, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, under her leadership, became the only engineering department in Scotland, and one of only three civil engineering departments in the UK, to hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award in recognition of their efforts to promote the careers of female staff and students. Prof Lunn was short-listed for the 2014 Leadership Award in the UK-wide Women In Science and Engineering - WISE Awards.


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