Research and expertise

My main research area addresses the provision of sustainable sanitation and water services to protect public health and environmental systems. My particular focus is on attaining equitable access for the urban poor to safely managed onsite sanitation systems, with the subsequent stages of faecal sludge management in informal urban, peri-urban and rural contexts of low- and middle-income countries. 

I have over 25 years of research, teaching, capacity development and consultancy experience in the water and sanitation sector, primarily based in the UK and South Africa. My professional work experience covers over 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Sudan (Darfur region). I have been Principal and Co-Investigator on research projects with regional and global influence, including developing and implementing tools and guidelines to assess the city-wide status of urban sanitation services, assessing the viability of service delivery approaches and technologies in a diverse range of low and middle-income, urban and rural, post-emergency, stable, fragile and conflict-affected operating environments.

My teaching, tutoring and examiner responsibilities cover Master’s degree and undergraduate engineering students at Loughborough University. I also have also delivered training and capacity building courses in technical, institutional and management skills for effective sanitation and water supply services, to governments, international agencies and NGOs. 

I am a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Corporate member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (MIMechE) and Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA). 

Recently completed research projects 

  • Water and Sanitation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: health and other effects, with study sites in Uganda, India and Bangladesh (funded by the EPSRC)
  • Promotion of SFDs (fecal waste flow diagrams or Shit Flow Diagrams), working within an international consortium (funded by BMGF)

Faecal Sludge Management: Diagnostics for Service Delivery in Poor Urban Areas, with field research in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Bolivia (funded by the World Bank)

Recent publications

  • Peal, A., Evans, B., Ahilan, A., Ban, R., Blackett, I., Hawkins, P., Schoebitz, L., Scott, R., Sleigh, A., Strande, L., Veses Roda, O., 2020, Estimating safely managed sanitation in urban areas; lessons learned from a global implementation of excreta-flow diagrams, Frontiers Media
  • Scott, R., Scott, P., Hawkins, P., Blackett, I., Cotton, A. and Lerebours, A., 2019, Integrating basic urban services for better sanitation outcomes, Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6706;
  • Dewhurst, R., Furlong, C., Tripathi, S., Templeton, M., Scott, R., 2019, Evaluating the viability of establishing container-based sanitation in low-income settlements, Waterlines, 38 (3), 154-169;
  • Scott, RE,Ross, I, Hawkins, P, Blackett, I, Smith, MD (2018) Diagnostics for assessing city-wide sanitation services, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 9(1), pp.111-118, ISSN: 2043-9083. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2018.113  
  • Medland, LS, Scott, RE, Cotton, AP (2016) Achieving sustainable sanitation chains through better informed and more systematic improvements: lessons from multi-city research in Sub-Saharan Africa, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 2(3), pp.492-501, ISSN: 2053-1400. DOI: 10.1039/c5ew00255a.
  • Reed, BJ, Torr, D, Scott, R (2016) Emergency sanitation: developing criteria for pit latrine lining, Waterlines, 35(2), ISSN: 1756-3488. DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2016.016.
  • Mazeau, A, Reed, B, Sansom, K, Scott, R (2014) Emerging categories of urban shared sanitation, Water and Environment Journal, 28(4), pp.592-608, ISSN: 1747-6585. DOI: 10.1111/wej.12075.


I contribute to learning and teaching activities across the Schools programmes including:


  • Emergency Water Supply and Sanitation Engineering module
  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests


  • Household and Commual Sanitation Management module (taught and by Distance Learning)
  • Household and Commual Sanitation Engineering module (from 2020: taught and by Distance Learning)
  • Low Cost Sanitation module (by Distance Learning)
  • Emergency Sanitation module (by Distance Learning)
  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests(taught and by Distance Learning)


Current projects 

Short courses

  • Lecturer on MSF (Médecins sans Frontièrs) 2-week training programme: Water Supply and Sanitation in Precarious Situations hosted by WEDC, Loughborough University
  • 2011-2018: guest lecturer on ICRC’s annual training course, WATSAN: from emergency towards development, hosted by UNINE, Neuchâtel, Switzerland 


Career and esteem indicators

Before joining the WEDC team at Loughborough University, I worked for a consultancy firm in South Africa providing professional support to improve water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion services for rural communities in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Prior to that, I worked as a Mechanical Engineer with Anglian Water. 

I obtained a degree in Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology from Warwick University in 1990 and a Masters in Public Health Engineering from Leeds University in 1996.

Professional affiliations

  • Corporate member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (MIMechE) 
  • Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

 External activities

Key collaborators

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

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering group, University of Leeds, UK
  • Department of Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development (SANDEC), EAWAG, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • International agencies, including UNICEF, BMGF, GIZ, World Bank
  • Humanitarian agencies, including MSF, Tearfund, Save the Children, OXFAM