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Dr Eleanor Starkey

Research Fellow

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

I joined Northumbria University in January 2023 as a Research Fellow. I have specialised in hydrology, flood risk management, hydrometric monitoring, modelling, community/stakeholder involvement (socio-hydrology), citizen science and nature-based methods inside and outside academia since 2010.

As part of my PhD (2013-2017) I explored the feasibility, reliability, value and sustainability of citizen science in catchment (river) science and utilised community-based data to influence a natural flood management scheme. These experiences have fuelled my enthusiasm for working with communities and wider stakeholders to ensure environmental projects are meaningful, relevant and transferable to people and practice on the ground.

Having started my career as a Physical Scientist and Engineer, I also integrate innovative communication and engagement tools, and social science methods, into my work. I regularly collect and use community-based datasets to enhance traditional practices and fill data gaps.

Since joining Northumbria University, I have been working on the community-led sustainable drainage (SuDS) research project. SuDS+ (https://stanleysuds.co.uk) is a five-year project funded by Defra’s Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme. SuDS+ is creating community-led solutions that go beyond traditional water infrastructure. This is being achieved by de-prioritising flooding as the primary driver, and instead designing solutions which are led by the true needs of local people. A SuDS+ approach therefore has the potential to catalyse sustainable urban design by delivering multiple wider benefits (‘+’), whilst increasing flood resilience.

Other active projects:

  • UpStream: Community-led monitoring to improve water quality in the UK and Taiwan. https://research.ncl.ac.uk/upstream/
  • Acomb citizen science: continuous hydrometric monitoring with community flood and planning groups.

Follow this link to view previous projects and outputs: https://linktr.ee/Starkeyele

Eleanor Starkey

Previous positions:

Tyne Rivers Trust - Catchment Project Manager

National Green Infrastructure Facility, Newcastle University - Research Associate

JBA Consulting - Analyst (Hydrologist and Natural Flood Management specialist)

RAB Consultants - Assistant Environmental Consultant.

Weetwood - Technical Engineer.

Previous projects (and funder):

North East Catchments Hub (Northumbrian Water)

UpStream community-led continuous water quality monitoring (ESRC)

PYRAMID: Platform for dYnamic, hyper-resolution, near-real time flood Risk AssessMent Integrating repurposed and novel Data sources (NERC)

National Green Infrastructure Extreme Event Swale (UKCRIC, UKRI)

Yorkshire Natural Flood Management (Environment Agency)

Haltwhistle Burn citizen science (PhD: NERC and Tyne Rivers Trust)

Memberships:

British Hydrological Society

CIWEM - Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (graduate membership)

Media & other impact:

Nature-based solutions (cities) at COP26

Haltwhistle flood protection scheme inspired by children's game Kerplunk

Holding back the flood

How families living in flood-risk parts of the North East could play key role in future prevention

Storm chasers: The scientists trying to combat flooding (BBC News, BBC World)

Addressing flood risk through city-University collaborations (UK Universities Climate Network)

REF2021 Impact Case Study - Natural Flood Management using Runoff Attenuation Features

Watertight Solutions: Engaging communities in developing targeted sustainable urban drainage schemes

Publications:

See Eleanor Starkey Google Scholar

  • BSc Physical Geography, Newcastle University (First class)
  • MSc Hydrology & Climate Change, Newcastle University (Distinction)
  • PhD Civil Engineering, Newcastle University (Community-based ('citizen science') monitoring for catchment characterisation, modelling and management)

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