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Personal profile


​​Ian is Professor of Geomorphology in the Faculty of Art, 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 a visiting Chair of Geomorphology at Rhodes University, South Africa and is Professor Emeritus at Coventry University.

Research Interests

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.​


Jennine Evans; Environmental Science

Sediment Pressures and Mitigation Options for the River Rother.

Teaching Interests

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)

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, King's College London

PhD, University of Exeter

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Ian Foster is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Research Output

Later Prehistoric and Norse Communities in the Northern Isles: multi-proxy environmental investigations on Orkney

Timpany, S., Mighall, T., Foster, I., Martinez Cortizas, A., Owen, O., Krus, A. & Kamerling, I., 10 Aug 2020, In : Environmental Archaeology. p. 1-22 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

  • Sediment source fingerprinting: benchmarking recent outputs, remaining challenges and emerging themes

    Collins, A. L., Blackwell, M., Boeckx, P., Chivers, C-A., Emelko, M., Evrard, O., Foster, I., Gellis, A., Gholami, H., Granger, S., Harris, P., Horowitz, A. J., Laceby, J. P., Martinez-Carreras, N., Minella, J., Mol, L., Nosrati, K., Pulley, S., Silins, U., Jacques da Silva, Y. & 4 others, Stone, M., Tiecher, T., Ram Upadhayay, H. & Zhang, Y., 16 Sep 2020, In : Journal of Soils and Sediments. 92 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • A palaeoenvironmental study of particle size-specific connectivity- new insights and implications from the West Sussex Rother Catchment, United Kingdom

    Foster, I., Biddulph, M., Boardman, J., Copeland-Phillips, R., Evans, J. L., Pulley, S., Zhang, Y. & Collins, A. L., 8 Nov 2019, In : River Research and Applications. 35, 8, p. 1192-1202 10 p., 3477.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Disrupting longitudinal connectivity: a case study of historical valley sedimentation due to dam building in the Weald, UK.

    Evans, J. L., Boardman, J. & Foster, I., 9 Jul 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePoster


    Off-site impacts of soil erosion and runoff: why connectivity is more important than erosion rates

    Boardman, J., Vandaele, K., Evans, R. & Foster, I. D. L., 31 Jan 2019, In : Soil Use and Management.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Potential physical effects of suspended fine sediment on lotic macroinvertebrates

    McKenzie, M., Mathers, K., Wood, P., England, J., Foster, I., Lawler, D. & Wilkes, M., 5 Dec 2019, In : Hydrobiologia. p. 1-15 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Professor Geoffrey Petts (1953–2018): An outstanding interdisciplinary river scientist

    Gurnell, A., Foster, I., Gregory, K. & Wood, P., 7 Nov 2019, In : River Research and Applications. 35, 8, p. 1075-1090 16 p., 3540.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalEditorial

  • An analysis of potential controls on long-term 137Cs accumulation in the sediments of UK lakes

    Pulley, S., Foster, I. D. L., Collins, A. L., Zhang, Y. & Evans, J. L., 20 Feb 2018, In : Journal of Paleolimnology. 60, 1, p. 1–30 30 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Activities

    • 1 Invited talk
    • 1 Oral presentation

    Particle size; the overlooked variable in sediment related research? Some examples from the Rother Catchment.

    Ian Foster (Author), Jennine L Evans (Author), John Boardman (Author), Adie Collins (Author), Ruth Copeland-Phillips (Author) & Ses Wright (Author)

    10 Jul 2020

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


    Ian Foster (Speaker), John Boardman (Speaker) & David Favis-Mortlock (Speaker)

    9 Jul 2019

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


    Press / Media

    Nepal Oil And Gas Nigeria

    Ian Foster


    1 item of Media coverage