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Prof. Dorrik Stow


Director of Institute

Institute of Petroleum Engineering

Phone: +44 (0) 131 451 3120
  • Room F1.4
    Enterprise Oil Building
    Heriot-Watt University
    EH14 4AS
    United Kingdom
Dorrik Stow

Research profile

Roles and responsibilities
  • Director of Institute
  • Director of Research, Institute of Petroleum Geology
  • ECOSSE Chair and Director, Edinburgh Collaborative of Subsurface Science and Engineering
  • Senior Management Team, Institute of Petroleum Engineering
  • Group leader for IPE Petroleum Geoscience Theme

Professor Stow is a leading sedimentologist, geologist and oceanographer of international standing with an extensive record of scientific publications, including over 200 scientific papers and reports, numerous books and edited volumes. He specialises in the deep sea and on deep-sea deposits now thrown up onto land. In pursuing this scientific quest he has sailed on all the world's major oceans, visited or worked in more than 50 countries and lectured extensively throughout the world. He has worked in and with the oil industry, particularly in their ongoing quest for deep-sea oil and gas and on new and tight reservoir targets; led a major international mission for scientific drilling into the deep Indian Ocean seafloor; and is currently co-chief scientist for IODP Leg 339 on Mediterranean Outflow research. He also maintains strong interest in the field of geoscience and development, with recent visits to Indian Kashmir, Assam and Sri Lanka, concerning hazard mitigation, geoscience education and marine management. His enthusiasm for the popularisation of ocean and earth sciences is expressed through lectures, writing and broadcast, including his recent books Oceans: An Illustrated Reference (2004) and Vanished Ocean (OUP, 2010). He is currently Director of Research and Professor of Petroleum Geoscience at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot Watt University, and Director of the Edinburgh Collaborative of Subsurface Science and Engineering (ECOSSE).


2008-present: ECOSSE Chair & Professor, Heriot-Watt University; Director of Research, Institute of Petroleum Engineering

1989-2008: Professor Ocean & Earth Science (from 2000), previously Reader, and Head of Academic Studies, School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton University

2006: Visiting Professor, Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia, Malaga, Spain; Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, Mobility Award.

1998-2000: Royal Society Industrial Research Fellow, BP, Sunbury; working within the Deepwater Research team

1984-1989: Lecturer then Reader, Nottingham University

1984: Associate Professor, Bordeaux University, France

1980-1984: Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellow (1982-84); NERC Research Fellow (1980-82), Edinburgh University

1977-1980: Exploration Geologist then Senior Sedimentologist, British National Oil Corporation (Britoil), Glasgow

Education and awards

1977: PhD Marine Geology, Dalhousie University, Canada

1976: MA Cambridge University, UK

1974: BA Natural Science Tripos, Cambridge University, UK

  • Royal Society Industrial Research Fellowship
  • National Teaching Fellowship
  • Geological Society William Smith Award
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Fellowship
  • Natural Environmental Research Council Research Fellowship
  • Royal Society John Murray Travelling Fellowship
  • Dalhousie Postgraduate Fellowship
  • Commonwealth Scholarship
  • Exhibition, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
  • Royal Institution Australian Science Scholarship
Further information

Recent Books

  1. Stow DAV., in prep. Oceans: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  2. Stow DAV., 2010. Vanished Ocean. Oxford University Press, 300pp.
  3. Stow DAV, 2005. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field: A Colour Guide. Manson Publishing, 320pp., 6th impression 2011, with Elsevier (US) 5th impression 2011, with CSIRO (Australia & New Zealand).
  4. Stow DAV, 2004. Encyclopedia of the Oceans, Oxford University Press (Europe) and Oceans: An Illustrated Reference, Chicago University Press (North America), 256pp.


  • Deepwater sedimentary systems: pioneer in the field with major research programme coordination and international cooperation; land-based, marine-based and subsurface interests; furthering knowledge of deep-water processes, facies and architecture.
  • Petroleum geoscience: incorporating sedimentary genetic units, reservoir characterisation, seismic interpretation, petrophysical and geotechnical rock properties.
  • Contourites and paleocirculation: including how these are linked with climate and past environmental change; currently Co-Chief Scientist for IODP Expedition 339 on Mediterranean Outflow.
  • Muds and shales: including modern, ancient and subsurface fine-grained sedimentary systems, from micro-scale to basin-scale; and black shale deposition.

Research and knowledge exchange

  • Director of Research for Institute of Petroleum Engineering – with research interests across the breadth of the Oil and Gas energy sector including exploration geoscience, reservoir development, production engineering, and beyond into marine renewables and carbon capture and storage.
  • Programme coordination for ECOSSE Edinburgh Consortium for Subsurface Science and Engineering) – coordinating subsurface energy and environmental research across Heriot Watt University IPE, Edinburgh University Geoscience, the British Geological Survey (Edinburgh) and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.
  • Group leader for IPE Petroleum Geoscience Theme.
  • Over 200 research publications including 8 books, 6 key synthesis volumes, and 50 industrial/NGO reports – see full listing of publications.
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD): Organisation and delivery of regular in-service training short courses and field courses for the oil industry, as well as for national geological surveys. These have mostly centred around my specialist research area of deep-water sedimentary systems, as well as geoscience education and natural hazards. Currently a NExT instructor for Schlumberger petroleum geoscience courses; and masterclasses with NExT, EAGE and UNISTRAT.
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