Eleanor Earl

Eleanor Earl

HDR students
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Water Research Centre (WRC)

Research Topic:

Improving the flood resilience of Pacific Island Communities

Supervised by:

  • A/Prof Fiona Johnson
  • Prof Lucy Marshall
  • Prof David Sanderson


Given flooding causes significant damage to Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), our research investigates how nature-based solutions can contribute to flood management, often referred to as Natural Flood Management (NFM).

Currently, nature-based solutions research in the PICTs has been focussed on coastal flooding, instead this research investigates surface water and river flooding, particularly in volcanic high islands. Although there has been some research and application of NFM in the PICTs, information is sparse.

To improve NFM knowledge in the PICTs this research aims to:

•              Better understand how nature-based solutions can contribute to flood management in the PICTs.

•              Explore approaches used to optimise and prioritise NFM in catchments, including developing catchment models to investigate these methodologies.

Project Funding

This PhD is funded by UNSW’s Scientia PhD Scholarship Fund. The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme is part of UNSW’s dedication to harnessing our cutting-edge research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of people in local and global communities.


Eleanor Earl MEng CEng MICE is a civil engineer with experience working in the Caribbean, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and across the Asia-Pacific region. She is currently undertaking a PhD, researching flood resilience in the Pacific Islands, at UNSW's Water Research. Prior to moving to UNSW, she was an engineer at Arup for 7 years based in London and Hong Kong working on a variety of multi-disciplinary infrastructure and building projects. Whilst at Arup, she was seconded to the Resilience Shift (now Resilience Rising) where she led the Resilient Water Governance portfolio.


MEng Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cardiff University, UK (2014)

  • Earl, E. et al. 2023.  A critical review of Natural Flood Management application and spatial prioritisation approaches in tropical island catchments. Science of The Total Environment, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162776.

    Earl, E. et al. 2018. Surface water management in humanitarian crises. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Transformation towards sustainable and resilient WASH services: Proceedings of the 41st WEDC International Conference, Nakuru, Kenya, 9-13 July 2018, Paper 3072, 7 pp.

    Lucas R., Earl E. R., Babatunde, A., Bockelmann-Evans B. 2014. Constructed wetlands for stormwater management in the UK: A concise review. Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems. 32. 1-18. 10.1080/10286608.2014.958472. 

·         Pacific Islands Science, Technology and Resources Conference, Best Student Presentation, Suva (2023)

·         Karen Burt Award, Women’s Engineering Society - best newly qualified woman Chartered Engineer (2021)

·         Scientia PhD Scholarship, University of New South Wales (2019)

·         Institution of Civil Engineers President’s Future Leader (2016)

·         Institution of Civil Engineers Wales Cymru Chairman's Special Award (2015)

·         Engineering Professors’ Council & The Hammermen of Glasgow Student Awards Runner-up (2014)

·         Cardiff University Douglas Pointon Award for Service to the School of Engineering (2014)

·         Institution of Civil Engineers Kenneth Watson Travel Award (2013)