David Lerner, FREng

David Lerner

Professor of Environmental Engineering
Faculty Director of Research and Innovation

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)114 22 25743
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 5701
Email: d.n.lerner@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: MD13  (in the Department of Mechanical Engineering)


  • MA, Engineering Sciences, University of Cambridge.
  • MSc, Engineering Hydrology, Imperial College, London.
  • PhD, School of Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham.
  • DSc, Urban and industrial impacts on groundwater, University of Birmingham.
  • CEng, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
  • CGeol, Fellow of the Geological Society.


David Lerner came to academic life in 1984 via a water authority and international consultants, and has since worked in both Geology and Civil Engineering departments. With Steve Banwart, he founded the Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group (GPRG ) which, with its daughter groups, now has about 50 researchers working at a range of scales from cells to catchments. Early work experience included water resources modelling, irrigation hydrology, flood hydrology and erosion control, as well as his specialism of groundwater. David has worked in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Peru and Algeria as well as throughout the UK. Recent research interests have included urban groundwater, natural attenuation of pollutants, modelling, and fractured rock hydrogeology.

His current research interests are on larger scale and policy issues. He leads, with Bob Harris, the multi- disciplinary Catchment Science Centre, which was created in cooperation with the Environment Agency. This researches across the hydrology, ecology and water quality domains to deliver the next generation of understanding and tools for integrated and sustainable catchment management practices. David's latest grant is for an EPSRC consortium, URSULA, which is investigating integrated and innovations approaches to urban river corridors.  He has recently been on secondment to Defra advising on a research strategy for diffuse urban pollution.

Activities and Distinctions

  • FREng, Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Editorial Board, Hydrological Processes
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology (Editor in Chief until 2004)
  • CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group (member)
  • IPM-NET Science and Technology Advisory Group (member)

Grants started since 2001

  • 2008-11: "URSULA: Urban river corridors and sustainable living agendas" funded by EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environments 2. Investigators: Lerner (PI) and 15 others. Value: £2 500 000.
  • 2007-09: "BioChar - the use of biologically enhanced charcoal for in situ remediation of contaminated land" funded by DTI Collaborative research. Investigators: Aspire Defence, Forest Research, U of Surrey, Lerner, Wilson, Romero-Gonzalez. Value: £570 000 (Sheffield 115 000)
  • 2007-09: "Hyporheic Network - a Knowledge Transfer Network on Hyporheic Zone Processes" funded by NERC Knowledge Transfer fund. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Smith (EA), Tellam (Birmingham), Heathwaite (Lancaster), Old (CEH). Value: £112 000
  • 2006-09: "CatSci Early Stage Training" funded by EU Marie Curie. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Maltby, Wainwright. Value: £1 000 000
  • 2006-09: "Risks from pesticides to drinking water supplies from groundwater" funded by Yorkshire Water and NERC CASE award. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Thornton. Value: £40 000
  • 2006-09: "Nutrient risk mapping for Ingbirchworth catchment" funded by Defra (Catchment Sensitive Farming) and Yorkshire Water. Investigators: Lerner, Surridge. Value: £15 000
  • 2006-07: "Aquifer Assessment Tool Follow-On Funding" funded by EPSRC. Investigators: Wilson (PI), Banwart, Thornton, Lerner. Value: £89 000
  • 2005-08: "Catchment Science Centre research studentships" funded by Environment Agency, Hossain Farmy trust. Investigators: Lerner, Maltby. Value: £120 000.
  • 2004-09: "Platform Grant - Groundwater pollution and restoration: from microscale to policy" funded by EPSRC. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Banwart, Thornton, Wilson, Romero, Crouch. Value: £390 000
  • 2004-09: "Catchment Science Centre" funded by Environment Agency, U of Sheffield. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Maltby, Harris (EA). Value: £500 000.
  • 2004-08: "Nanometre-Scale Observation of Biodegradation in Soil and Groundwater" funded by EPSRC LSI. Investigators: Banwart (PI), Lerner and 8 others. Value: £729 000
  • 2004-08: "In situ source area bioremediation (SABRE)" funded by LINK Bioremediation. Investigators at Sheffield: Wilson, Lerner, Anderson. Value: £3 120 000 (Sheffield 240 000)
  • 2004-07: "Hyporheic zone fellowship" funded by Environment Agency. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Tellam and Rivett (Birmingham), Heathwaite (Lancaster). Value: £100 000
  • 2004-06: "Distribution and mobility of non-aqueous Phase liquids (NAPLs)" funded by National Grid. Investigators: Wilson, Lerner, ENTEC. Value: £150 000
  • 2003-07: "SUBR:IM Sustainable urban brownfield regeneration: integrated management consortium" funded by EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environments. Investigators: Lerner (PI) and co-investigators from 7 partner institutions. Value: £1 920 000 (Sheffield 720 000)
  • 2003-06: "Risk from sewage to groundwater" funded by Environment Agency. Investigators: Lerner. Value: £15 000
  • 2003-06: "Development of an in-situ aquifer assessment tool with risk management calculator" funded by EPSRC 1st Faraday. Investigators: Banwart (PI), Nathanail (Nottingham), Thornton, Lerner, Elliot (Queen's) . Value: £350 000 (Sheffield 200 000)
  • 2002-05: "Assessing natural attenuation in fractured aquifers: the Textron case" funded by RTDF, a US-based industry-government consortium. . Investigators: Lerner. Value: £15 000
  • 2002-03: "Extended reactive zones for removing chlorinated solvents in dual porosity aquifers" funded by EPSRC. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Leharne (Greenwich). Value: £60 000
  • 2001-06: "Strategic management of non-point source pollution from sewage sludge" funded by EPSRC (Water Infrastructure & Treatment Engineering) . Investigators: Heathwaite (PI), Lerner, Saul, Quinn (Newcastle), Whitehead (Reading) . Value: £512 000 (Sheffield 240 000)
  • 2001-06: "FIRST Faraday: Partnership for remediation of contaminated environments" funded by DTI, EPSRC, NERC. Investigators: Knowles (PI: Oxford), Lerner, and partners from 4 other institutions. Value: £1 500 000 (Sheffield 100 000)
  • 2001-05: "Quantitative visualisation of biodegradation processes in aquifers" funded by BBSRC. Investigators: Banwart (PI), Lerner, Pickup (CEH). Value: £238 000
  • 2001-05: "CORONA - confidence in forecasting natural attenuation in groundwater" funded by EU FP5. Investigators: Lerner (PI), Thornton, + 9 partner institutions. Value: £1 500 000 (Sheffield 340 000)
  • 2001-04: "Evaluating fuel hydrocarbon and MTBE migration in the Chalk" funded by EPSRC (Waste & Pollution Management), TotalFinaElf. Investigators: Thornton (PI), Lerner, Banwart, Pickup (CEH), Bottrell (Leeds). Value: £420 000


  • Staff Member Responsible (SMR) for combined MSc and CPD course Hydrogeology (CIV6701)

Selected Publications

If you wish to obtain a copy of one of David's books, follow the directions below:

  • Urban Groundwater pollution (David N Lerner), 2003, 299 pages: please follow the link on the right to go to Balkema's catalogue.
  • Groundwater recharge - A guide to understanding and estimating natural recharge (David N Lerner, Arie S.Issar & Ian Simmers, 1990, 346 pp. Balkema): available for download.
  • An illustrated handbook of DNAPL fate and transport in the subsurface: follow the link to the right to download (PDF, 790kb).
  • Sustainable Brownfield Regeneration presents a comprehensive account of UK policies, processes and practices in brownfield regeneration and takes an integrated and theoretically-grounded approach to highlight best practice; it is a major output of the SUBR:IM consortium. Full details on Blackwells site.

Journal articles