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Professor Nick Clifford

Professor Nick Clifford

Nick cliffordProfessor, Head of Department and Director of King's School of Global Affairs

Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 1734 

Department of Geography
King's College London
K4.11 Strand Campus

Research Interests

  • river processes and management
  • sustainable use of natural systems (especially water)
  • geographical and environmental methods, techniques and philosophy 


Nick Clifford is Professor and Head of Department at King’s College London, and has over 20 years of research experience in fluvial and estuarine geomorphology. He graduated with first class honours and the Philip Lake Prize for physical geography from the University of Cambridge in 1983, and went on to complete a NERC-funded PhD there in 1990. He became a Chartered Geographer in 2005, and Director of King's School of Global Affairs in 2015; New acting Director at the School of Global Affairs.

Nick has held appointments at Portsmouth, Hull, University College London and Nottingham (as Professor of River Science). He has produced more than 150 scientific works and conference presentations relating to flow processes, sediment transport and bedforms in rivers and river estuaries, including a monograph, Turbulence: perspectives on flow and sediment transport, as well as major reviews of current river rehabilitation practice and commentaries on geographical methods and philosophy. His most recent scholarly project has been an invited review of the historical development of research into river channel forms and process 1890-1965, in The History of the Study of Landforms. He maintains an active presence in geographical education, editing leading texts Key Concepts in Geography and Key Methods in Geography.

His work has been funded primarily by the Natural Environment Research Council, and he has also worked collaboratively on applied and strategic projects funded by MAFF/Defra, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, English Nature and the Jackson Environment Institute. Nick speaks regularly to school as well as to university and research audiences, covering both his research areas and addressing the current state and future prospects of Geography as an academic discipline.

Nick has been an invited review contributor in both Progress in Physical Geography and Progress in Human Geography; was a long-serving Editorial Board member of the IBG Transactions; and an Associate Editor of The Journal of Hydrology. He is currently Managing Editor of Progress in Physical Geography, and serves on the editorial boards of River Research and Applications and Catena. In late 2005, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and he is currently Visiting Professor at University College Dublin; an  Academic Council Member of the Indian Institute for Bio-Social Research (Kolkata); Trustee of the Papplewick Water Education Trust;  and KCL Scientific Committee Representative for iCUBE (international Consortium for Biodiversity and Ecology). For 2010-11, Nick was President of the British Science Association (Geography Section), and he has served as Director of NERC’s Virtual Observatory for Water (sandpit pilot).  He has been a NERC Panel Member for the Changing Water Cycle Programme in the UK and India, and was appointed to the Belmont Forum/G8 Heads of Research Councils Panel of Experts, to consider research proposals relating to the International Opportunities Fund on Freshwater Security and Coastal Vulnerability. Most recently, he has acted as a Panel reviewer for the US-British Council initiative on Global Innovation.

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