Dr Andy Nichols

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering

Senior Lecturer in Water Engineering and Director of General Engineering

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+44 114 222 0256

Full contact details

Dr Andy Nichols
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Room E108
Sir Frederick Mappin Building (Broad Lane Building)
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

By developing new sensing and monitoring technologies, and new AI-driven asset management techniques, my research aims to improve water infrastructure management by reducing costs and risks, increasing safety, and maximising efficiency.

Dr Andrew Nichols

Andy joined the department in 2015 after working as a research associate on several industry and EPSRC-funded projects. He was appointed as a Lecturer for the new cross-faculty General Engineering interdisciplinary degree programme.

Part of Andy's research is dedicated to developing new sensing technology for the water industry, utilising optical, electrical, acoustic, and infrared principles. His expertise in instrumentation design facilitates the understanding of hydro-environmental processes. Additionally, he collaborates with companies to validate sensing technologies, and he serves as Chair of the Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG.org.uk).

Andy's research extends to investigating flowing water surfaces and developing technologies to measure them, enabling the identification of hydraulic processes. He aims to establish connections with other hydro-environmental processes such as greenhouse gas evasion, pollutant mixing, and sediment transport, resulting in international patents and national awards.

In addition to his work in the water industry, Andy specialises in novel machine learning-based methods for asset management. He has collaborated extensively with Network Rail on numerous projects focused on monitoring, modelling, and managing drainage infrastructure more effectively. His efforts aim to reduce failure and flood risks, safeguarding train operations and rail customers while enhancing overall asset management strategies. For his work in this field, he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship.

His research spans from laboratory studies in collaboration with academic colleagues to field studies with industrial partners and local authorities. Andy's multidisciplinary approach and collaboration with industry partners underscore his commitment to addressing real-world challenges in engineering and environmental sciences.

Research interests

Water infrastructure

Sensor development

Infrastructure management

Asset degradation

Whole-life costing

Railway engineering


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

Theses / Dissertations

  • Nichols A (2014) FREE SURFACE DYNAMICS IN SHALLOW TURBULENT FLOWS. RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Water - Environmental Fluid Mechanics

SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) and Urban Drainage

Water - Catchments & River Engineering

Resources, Infrastructure Systems & Built Environment


View all research projects

Co-UD Labs

Co-UDLABS (Building Collaborative Urban Drainage research lab communities) is a Horizon 2020 project funded under the Research Infrastructures programme (INFRAIA-02-2020 - Integrating Activities for Starting Communities).

Hydro KTP

The KTP project, in collaboration with Hydro International, will deliver a system for monitoring sediment loads and predicting maintenance requirements in stormwater treatment technologies.

Teaching interests

Interdisciplinary engineering

Engineering design

Fluid mechanics

Teaching activities

Andy is the Director of General Engineering, a unique interdisciplinary course at The University of Sheffield. Andy also teaches fluid mechanics and interdisciplinary design. Andy has developed and employed a number of novel techniques in his teaching, demonstrating these at pedagogical conferences and earning him several awards in recognition of his teaching excellence.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Chair of the Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG)
  • 21st Harold Jan Schoemaker Award for best paper in the Journal of Hydraulic Research
  • Outstanding Teaching Award in the Sheffield Students Union Academic Awards 2018
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the  Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management
  • Sheffield Early Career Researcher Scheme 2015
  • CIWEM new generations competition 2012 winner
  • IAHR UK young person’s paper competition 2012 winner
  • SWIG early career researcher competition 2012 winner
  • SET for Britain 2012 finalist
  • Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship in Railway Drainage Infrastructure Management
PhD opportunities

Andy currently has capacity to take on a limited number of new PhD students. Please contact him directly if this is of interest.