Rebecca Scott

BEng (Hons) MSc (Eng) CEng MIMechE FHEA

Pronouns: she/her
  • Senior Lecturer in Public Health Engineering

Research and expertise

My research 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. This considers a broad range of integrated aspects relevant to providing sustainable basic urban services, including the influence of technology, institutions, socio-cultural priorities and barriers, equity and inclusion, poverty, and impacts on the health of people and the wider environment.

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)

Completed Doctoral Researchers

  • Dr Alix Lerebours (2021), Regulating Emptying and Transport Services for Faecal Sludge in Sub-Saharan African Cities
  • Dr Meleruchi Wami (2023), Water, sanitation and handwashing assessment and determination of critical risk factors for diarrhoea among pre-schoolers and students

Recent publications

  • Schoell, AT, Scott R (2022) Stakeholder acceptance of shared toilets to improve sanitation access in low-income urban settings: a case study of Gulu city, UgandaJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development; washdev2022172. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2022.172 
  • Tumwebaze, IK, Hrdličková, Z, Labor, A, Turay, A, Macarthy, JM, Chmutina, K, Scott, R, Kayaga, S, Koroma, B, Howard, G (2022) Water and sanitation service levels in urban informal settlements: a case study of Portee-Rokupa in Freetown, Sierra LeoneJournal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 12(8), pp.612-621, ISSN: 2043-9083. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2022.115
  • Lerebours, A, Scott, R, Sansom, K, Kayaga, S (2022) Barriers and enablers to the regulation of sanitation services: a framework for emptying and transport services in Sub-Saharan African citiesFrontiers in Environmental Science, 10, 869403, DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2022.869403.
  • Lerebours, A, Scott, R, Sansom, K, Kayaga, S (2021) Regulating sanitation services in Sub-Saharan Africa: An overview of the regulation of emptying and transport of faecal sludge in 20 cities and its implementation, Utilities Policy, 73, 101315, ISSN: 0957-1787. DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2021.101315.
  • Lerebours, A, Scott, R, Sansom, K (2021) Private emptiers' perspectives on the regulation of faecal sludge emptying services in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 11(5), pp.785-793, ISSN: 2043-9083. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2021.026.
  • Peal, A, Evans, B, Ahilan, S, Ban, R, Blackett, I, Hawkins, P, Schoebitz, L, Scott, R, Sleigh, A, Strande, L, Veses, O (2020) Estimating Safely Managed Sanitation in Urban Areas; Lessons Learned From a Global Implementation of Excreta-Flow Diagrams, Frontiers in Environmental Science, 8, DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2020.00001.
  • Scott, R, Scott, P, Hawkins, P, Blackett, I, Cotton, A, Lerebours, A (2019) Integrating basic urban services for better sanitation outcomes, Sustainability, 11(23), 6706, DOI: 10.3390/su11236706.
  • Dewhurst, R, Furlong, C, Tripathi, S, Templeton, MR, Scott, R (2019) Evaluating the viability of establishing container-based sanitation in low-income settlements, Waterlines, 38(3), pp.154-169, ISSN: 0262-8104. DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.18-00027.
  • 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:


  • Problem-based multi-disciplinary team design challenge (Professional Practice)
  • Civil Engineering for Developing Countries module
  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests


  • Urban Sanitation Management (taught and by Distance Learning) – Module Leader 
  • Urban and Rural Sanitation Engineering (taught and by Distance Learning) – Module Leader
  • Household and Communal Sanitation Management module (taught and by Distance Learning)
  • Research Dissertation module (by Distance Learning) – Module Leader
  • Supervision of dissertations on topics aligned to my research interests (taught and by Distance Learning)


Professional affiliations

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

External activities

  • Peer reviewer for the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, PLOS-ONE, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Environmental Science & Technology, 
  • Coordinator of the UK’s Sanitation Community of Practice, SanCoP


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


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 


  • Evaluation of UNICEF’s “Community Approaches to Total Sanitation” (CATS) with field research in Mozambique and Sierra Leone Full report and Executive summary
  • Support to Haiti EC Water Facility: Urban sanitation in Jacmel (Save the Children International)

Career and esteem indicators

I am a mechanical engineering graduate and Chartered Engineer with over 27 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). 

Before joining WEDC, 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.