Dr Paul Hutchings

Dr Paul Hutchings


I am a mixed-methods social scientist that works on problems at the interface of social science, engineering and public health. My research and teaching focuses mainly on water and sanitation services and environmental health interventions in the Global South. My first degrees were from the University of Liverpool in Geography and Development Studies. I completed my PhD at Cranfield University working as a research assistant on the Australian Aid (DFAT) funded Community Water Plus project that investigated the factors associated with successful community-managed rural water supply programmes across India.


  • Programme Leader for the Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc
  • WaterWISER CDT Management Board

Research interests

My research interests can be organised across two thematic areas.

The first focuses on studying public health and wellbeing outcomes from water, sanitation and environmental health interventions. I am especially interested in interdisciplinary research methodology bringing together social, health and engineering sciences (amongst others) into research and evaluation design. Work in this area includes studies on the relationship between WASH and emotional wellbeing, and ‘intervention studies’ evaluating the impact of projects on the environmental transmission of disease and other related variables. Research into gender and equity issues is an emerging area of work.

The second area of research is focused on the management and governance processes within the water and sanitation sector. I am especially interested in assessing how institutional systems function and change for better or worse, and how these processes of change relate to the sustainability of services over the long-term. This work includes a focus on the community management and coproduction of public services (mainly WASH related) and more recent work on service delivery during rural-urban transition. I have a growing interest in the research-policy interface and understanding the role of evidence in informing decision-making within service delivery systems. The ambition of this line of thinking is that by unpacking these dynamics I will be able to reshape my own research to be more impactful.

I have been Principal or Co-Investigator on grants for UKRI (including Principal Investigator on two ESRC projects and Co Investigator on GCRF and ESRC-DFID grants). I have also led work for INGOs and broader development sector actors. Whilst the empirical focus of my work is largely focused on WASH in the Global South, I believe many of the issues studied and methodologies are transferable to other contexts and am keen to explore opportunities for learning between different contexts.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I am co-programme leader for the Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering MSc and lead two modules on that programme called the Management of WASH Projects and Engineering for Public Health.

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>