Dr Huili Chen

BEng MSc PhD

Pronouns: She/her
  • Senior Lecturer in Water Engineering

Research and expertise

My research is centred on the development of innovative methodologies that leverage satellite observations and high-performance modelling tools to facilitate assessments of disaster impacts and risks, especially in data-sparse areas. My overarching vision is to deliver advanced data analytics to safeguard lives and enhance the well-being of individuals residing in disaster-prone areas, particularly those vulnerable to natural hazards exacerbated by climate change, land use/cover evolution, and rapid population growth.

Current research activity

  • Assistant chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in Informatics and Multi-hazard Risk Reduction
  • Standardising High-Performance Integrated Hydrodynamic Modelling System (HiPIMS) for flood modelling and RIsk managemenT (SPIRIT), EPSRC impact acceleration accounts, CoI
  • Development of new pluvial flood nowcasting technologies using phased array radars and high-performance hydrodynamic and deep learning models, Royal Society, CoI

Recently completed research projects

  • ​​FLASH: Fit-for-purpose high-resoLution risk Assessment and forecasting System for rainfall-induced Hazards in Bhutan, NERC (2021COPA&R46Chen; 10/2021 – 06/2022), PI
  • FLASH ODA Additional Funds, NERC (04/2022 – 04/2023), PI
  • WeACT: Web-Based Natural Dam-Burst Flood Hazard Assessment and ForeCasting SysTem, NERC SHEAR programme (NE/S005919/1; 09/2018 – 08/2020), RA
  • Boya Postdoctoral Fellowship, Peking University (06/2018 – 05/2020, decline following a job offer at Loughborough), PI
  • Agricultural flood damage assessment and risk analysis, Ministry of Education Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, China (01/2017 – 12/2019), PI​​ 

Recent publications

  • Hill, B, Liang, Q, Bosher, L, Chen, H, Nicholson, A (2023) A systematic review of natural flood management modelling: approaches, limitations, and potential solutions, Journal of Flood Risk Management, 16(3), e12899, ISSN: 1753-318X. DOI: 10.1111/jfr3.12899
  • Cui, Y, Liang, Q, Xiong, Y, Wang, G, Wang, T, Chen, H (2023) Assessment of Object-Level Flood Impact in an Urbanized Area Considering Operation of Hydraulic Structures, Sustainability, 15(5), pp.4589-4589, DOI: 10.3390/su15054589
  • Xing, Y, Chen, H, Liang, Q, Ma, X (2022) Improving the performance of city-scale hydrodynamic flood modelling through a GIS-based DEM correction method, Natural Hazards, 112(3), pp.2313-2335, ISSN: 0921-030X. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-022-05267-1
  • Xing, Y, Shao, D, Liang, Q, Chen, H, Ma, X, Ullah, I (2021) Investigation of the drainage loss effects with a street view based drainage calculation method in hydrodynamic modelling of pluvial floods in urbanized area, Journal of Hydrology, 605, 127365, ISSN: 0022-1694. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2021.127365
  • Chen, H, Zhao, J, Liang, Q, Maharjan, SB, Joshi, SP (2021) Assessing the potential impact of glacial lake outburst floods on individual objects using a high-performance hydrodynamic model and open-source data, Science of the Total Environment, 806(Part 3), 151289, ISSN: 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151289
  • Zhao, J, Chen, H, Liang, Q, Xia, X, Xu, J, Hoey, T, Barrett, B, Renaud, FG, Bosher, L, Zhou, X (2021) Large-scale flood risk assessment under different development strategies: the Luanhe River Basin in China, Sustainability Science, 17(4), pp.1365-1384, ISSN: 1862-4065. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-021-01034-6
  • Chen, H, Liang, Q, Liang, Z, Liu, Y, Ren, T (2020) Extraction of connected river networks from multi-temporal remote sensing imagery using a path tracking technique, Remote Sensing of Environment, 246, 111868, ISSN: 0034-4257. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2020.111868
  • Chen, H, Liang, Q, Liang, Z, Liu, Y, Xie, S (2019) Remote-sensing disturbance detection index to identify spatio-temporal varying flood impact on crop production, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 269-270, pp.180-191, ISSN: 0168-1923. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2019.02.002.
  • Liang, Z, Liu, Y, Chen, H, Ji, Y (2019) Is ecoregional scale precise enough for lake nutrient criteria? Insights from a novel relationship-based clustering approach, Ecological Indicators, 97, pp.341-349, ISSN: 1470-160X. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.10.034
  • Liang, Z, Qian, SS, Wu, S, Chen, H, Liu, Y, Yu, Y, Yi, X (2019) Using Bayesian change point model to enhance understanding of the shifting nutrients-phytoplankton relationship, Ecological Modelling, 393, pp.120-126, ISSN: 0304-3800. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2018.12.008
  • Chen, H, Liang, Z, Liu, Y, Jiang, Q, Xie, S (2018) Effects of drought and flood on crop production in China across 1949–2015: spatial heterogeneity analysis with Bayesian hierarchical modeling, Natural Hazards, 92(1), pp.525-541, ISSN: 0921-030X. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-018-3216-0
  • Chen, H, Liang, Q, Liu, Y, Xie, S (2018) Hydraulic correction method (HCM) to enhance the efficiency of SRTM DEM in flood modeling, Journal of Hydrology, 559, pp.56-70, ISSN: 0022-1694. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.01.056
  • Liang, Z, Chen, H, Wu, S, Zhang, X, Yu, Y, Liu, Y (2018) Exploring Dynamics of the Chlorophyll a-Total Phosphorus Relationship at the Lake-Specific Scale: a Bayesian Hierarchical Model, Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 229(1), 21, ISSN: 0049-6979. DOI: 10.1007/s11270-017-3678-9
  • Liang, Z, Wu, S, Chen, H, Yu, Y, Liu, Y (2018) A probabilistic method to enhance understanding of nutrient limitation dynamics of phytoplankton, Ecological Modelling, 368, pp.404-410, ISSN: 0304-3800. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.11.004
  • Li, B, Chen, H, Li, N, Wu, Z, Wen, Z, Xie, S, Liu, Y (2017) Spatio-temporal shifts in the archaeal community of a constructed wetland treating river water, Science of The Total Environment, 605-606, pp.269-275, ISSN: 0048-9697. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.221
  • Chen, H, Liang, Z, Liu, Y, Liang, Q, Xie, S (2017) Integrated remote sensing imagery and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling approach for impact evaluation of flood on crop yields, Journal of Hydrology, 553, pp.262-275, ISSN: 0022-1694. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.08.001
  • Yang, X, Chen, H, Wang, Y, Xu, C-Y (2016) Evaluation of the effect of land use/cover change on flood characteristics using an integrated approach coupling land and flood analysis, Hydrology Research, 47(6), pp.1161-1171, ISSN: 0029-1277. DOI: 10.2166/nh.2016.108
  • Zeng, X, Huang, G, Chen, H, Li, Y, Kong, X, Fan, Y (2016) A simulation-based water-environment management model for regional sustainability in compound wetland ecosystem under multiple uncertainties, Ecological Modelling, 334, pp. 60-77, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.04.021
  • Zeng, X, Yang, X, Yu, L, Chen, H (2015) A mix inexact-quadratic fuzzy water resources management model of floodplain (IQT-WMMF) for regional sustainable development of Dahuangbaowa, China, Water, 7, pp. 2771-2795. DOI: 10.3390/w7062771


I contribute to learning and teaching activities across the School's programmes, including:


  • CVA124 - Measurement and Site Surveying
  • CVB010 - Field Courses
  • CVC106 - Ground Engineering and Monitoring
  • CVC109 - Water Resources, Sustainability and Climate Change


  • CVP366 - Geographic Information Systems and Data Management
  • CVP418 - Flood Modelling and Management
  • CVP422 - Flood Modelling and Management (DL)
  • CVP431 - Water and the Natural Environment (DL) 


I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Water Engineering at the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering at Loughborough University. My career at Loughborough commenced in January 2019, when I joined the School as a Research Associate. Previously, I was a Research Associate at Peking University. I received my BEng and MSc from Wuhan University, China, in 2010 and 2012, and my PhD from Peking University in 2016.

Professional affiliations

  • Member of European Geosciences Union (AGU)
  • Member of the transboundary Koshi DRR Knowledge Hub (KDKH)
  • Member of the Global Partnership for Smart Informatics and Multi-hazard Reduction (SIMR)

External activities

  • Conference organiser: Invited to serve the Scientific Committee and organize one of the 4 sessions of the 23rd Annual General Meeting of the UK China Association of Resources and Environment (UK-CARE), 13 and 14 November 2023, Wenzhou and Shenyang, China, and Loughborough, UK
  • Invited speeches/talks:
    -  ​"Assessing the potential impact of glacial lake outburst floods on individual objects using a high-performance hydrodynamic model and open-source data", the 5th International Symposium on Shallow Flows (ISSF 2021), 23-25 October 2021, Nanjing, China
    - "Fit-for-purpose high-resolution risk assessment and forecasting System for rainfall-induced Hazards in Bhutan", the XIV Congress of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment, 21-27 September 2023, Chengdu, China
    ​- "Extraction of connected river networks from multi-temporal remote sensing imagery", the 5th China Symposium on Water Environment Modeling and Intelligent Decision, 25-27 October 2018, Yuxi, China
  • Invited reviewer for journals: ‘Water Resources Research’, ‘Journal of Hydrology’, ‘Remote Sensing of Environment’, ‘Water’, ‘Remote Sensing’, ‘Geoenvironmental Disasters’, ‘Geoscience and Remote Sensing’, ‘Journal of Hydrodynamics’, ‘Natural Hazard’, ‘International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers’, etc.

Key collaborators

My research and enterprise activities are conducted with a range of academic and stakeholder partners, including:

  • Collaborative research leading to joint publications: Peking University (China), Hohai University (China), Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (China), Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS (China), Capital University of Economics and Business (China), University of Glasgow (UK), Brunel University London (UK), University of Regina (Canada), University of Oslo (Norway), Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Japan), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD, Nepal), etc.
  • Joint funding applications: Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Malawi), University of Uyo (Nigeria), University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), Royal University of Bhutan (Bhutan), Chengdu University of Technology (China), Newcastle University (UK), Swansea University (UK), University of Exeter (UK), University of Lincoln (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Leeds (UK), Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (Sweden), Helmholtz Zentrum HEREON GmbH (Germany), Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (Nederlands), Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (France), University of Innsbruck (Austria), University of Bern (Switzerland), Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain), etc.
  • Invited research visits: ICIMOD (Nepal), Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (Nepal), Royal University of Bhutan (Bhutan), Zhengzhou University (China), Chang’an University (China), Xi'an University of Technology (China), North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (China), Nanjing University (China), Yunnan University (China), Birmingham University (UK), Exeter University (UK), etc.