Dr Virginia Stovin

Reader in Urban DrainageVirginia Stovin

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5051
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5700
Email: v.stovin@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: MezC4


  • BSc, Geography, University of Manchester
  • PhD, Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield
  • MCIWEM, C.WEM, CEnv, CSci


I was appointed a lecturer here in 1995, after spending the previous three years as a research assistant in the Department. Originally a Geography graduate from the University of Manchester, my current research focuses on Urban Stormwater Management and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). I am specifically interested in the technical performance of SuDS (particularly green roofs and ponds) and on strategic SuDS retrofitting. My work is aimed at understanding the processes that control the quantity and quality of urban runoff in order to develop fit-for-purpose models of those processes and generate novel strategies to enable stormwater to be managed more effectively/sustainably. The work embraces fundamental science (hydrology, hydrodynamics), and has strong practical relevance. Recent highlights have included

  1. my involvement in an EU-funded industry-academia collaborative project on 'Green Roof Systems' aimed at understanding and optimising the hydrological functioning of green roof systems; and
  2. my involvement in a study to consider SuDS retrofit options as an alternative to the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Other ongoing work focuses on the use of computational fluid dynamics to optimise the design of combined sewer overflows and other sewer ancillary structures. This requires both the flow field and pollutant transport (sediment or solute) to be accurately modelled, in three-dimensions and in response to time-dependent inputs. Much of this work has been done in collaboration with Ian Guymer at the University of Warwick, and we currently have EPSRC funding to understand and model the effects of vegetation on flow and solute transport in vegetated stormwater ponds.

I have been involved in the successful supervision of 12 PhD students and my research has resulted in the publication of more than 30 refereed journal papers. I am responsible for the introduction of two 'environmental awareness' modules into the Department's core undergraduate teaching programme, and has previously taught hydrology, construction planning and risk assessment.

Activities and Distinctions

  • Active in UK sustainable drainage research and a core member of the Sheffield-based European-funded Green Roof Centre.
  • External Examiner (Undergraduate Built and Natural Environment modules) University of Abertay Dundee (2005-9)
  • External Examiner for more than 10 PhDs, with more than 5 international.


  • 2013-2016: "Residence Times in Vegetated Stormwater Ponds", funded by EPSRC. Led by Prof. Ian Guymer, University of Warwick. Total project value: £516,465.
  • 2009-2013: "Green Roof Systems [230636]" funded by EU FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP). Investigators: N Dunnett and VR Stovin. Value: €1.19M.
  • 2008-2011: "URSULA: Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas" funded by EPSRC. Investigators: DN Lerner, P Armsworth, S Connelly, P Bibby, S Molyneux-Hodgson, DM Romano, P Warren, L Maltby, S Sharples, JB Davison, JM Henneberry, RM Ashley, SN Lane, VR Stovin, JB Boxall, KJ Gaston, E Sharp and E Lange. Value: £2,584,763.
  • 2006-2010: "PLATFORM: Pennine Water Group: Developing Knowledge and Tools for Sustainable Urban Water Services in the 21st Century" funded by EPSRC. Investigators: RM Ashley, AJ Edyvean, AJ Saul, W Zimmerman, KV Horoshenkov, SJ Tait, VR Stovin, LA Lewis, JB Boxall, C Biggs and E Sharp. Value: £371,961.
  • 2006-2008: "Lower Irwell Integrated Urban Drainage Pilot (under subcontract to United Utilities)" funded by Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Investigator: VR Stovin. Value: £55,000.
  • 2005-2007: "River Quality Enhancement Using Retrofit SUDS" funded by Environment Agency and the BOC Foundation. Investigator: VR Stovin. Value: £60,000.

Selected Publications

Journal articles