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Dr Heather Haynes BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, CGeog (Geomorph), FRGS, FHEA


Associate Professor

School of the Built Environment

Phone: +44 (0)131 451 4643
  • Room 3.26
    William Arrol Building
  • School of the Built Environment
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Edinburgh
  • EH14 4AS
  • United Kingdom

Research profile

Roles and responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Infrastructure & Environment.


Dr Haynes' main area of research is the physical modelling of sediment transport in river systems. This interest is driven by European and national legislation is increasingly being imposed on river engineering and management practice in the UK.

Successful implementation requires detailed understanding of the interaction between flow and sediment transfer within river systems. Practitioners are therefore calling for research aimed at accurately predicting: the flow conditions at which sediment motion begins; the mechanics of sediment transport; and the associated changes to channel morphology.

However, to untangle and quantify these inter-related variables is challenging in the real-world, particularly when considered alongside climate and anthropogenic uncertainty. This is why laboratory flume experiments are particularly beneficial in their ability to control, isolate and investigate how individual parameters of the system respond to an imposed change. By providing this research data, predictive flow and sediment transport models can be improved and validated with the degree of certainty required by engineers and scientists. These tools can then be strategically used to inform decisions as to how best to improve the design of sustainable solutions to fluvial problems such as flooding, morphological instability, infrastructure scour, pollutant transfer and ecosystem degradation.

Dr. Haynes’ recent research has included:

  • Reducing uncertainty in sediment entrainment threshold prediction in uniform and graded beds during flood events, hydrograph cycling and antecedent low-flows.
  • Small-scale particle dynamics resolved using laser displacement scanning.
  • Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to quantify the internal flow-sediment processing in porous media – SuDS filters and river beds.
  • Bio-chemical assimilation potential of SuDS filters.
  • Microbial colonization and biostabilization of sediment beds.
  • Integrated urban drainage in 2D urban flood modelling.
  • Decision support in flood risk management in Scotland.