Professor Barbara Evans

Professor Barbara Evans


Professor Barbara Evans holds the chair in Public Health Engineering in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds. Her work is centred on the delivery of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6, with a particular focus on resilient and equitable sanitation services. 

Since joining the University in 2009 Barbara has led the establishment of the cross-faculty MSc in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering which is jointly taught with the Nuffield School of International Health. She is also Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure and Services Engineered for Resilience.

After graduating from Leeds with a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering (1987) Professor Evans worked as an engineering consultant in Sudan, Pakistan and India.  In 1994 she won a scholarship to study for an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Ecnomics, passing with distinction in 1995.  Her studies focused on the political economy of urban sanitation for poor and marginalised communities.  Thereafter she worked at the World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme for seven years and was responsible for a regional programme of support to government and civil society in South Asia, delivering capacity building, research and programme support in urban basic services.  She also worked on several groundbreaking rural water supply and sanitation projects, in particular in the Hamalayan regions of Uttar Pradesh (now Uttaranchal).  Other work in this period included leading the development of the post-conflict reconstruction programme for urban sanitation and water supplies in Afghanistan.  After leaving the Bank in 2002 Barbara worked as an independent consultant, working with UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, WaterAid, and for the governments of Vietnam, Bolivia and Bangladesh. She was also active and instrumental in delivery of several regional ministerial sanitation conferences.

Barbara has travelled widely, lived for many years in South Asia, and has worked in over twenty countries.  She is active in the global international development arena and is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) which reports progress against the Sustainable Development Goals for Water. She is a member of the Royal Academy of Engineers International Committee and an Advisor to the Container-based Sanitation Alliance.


  • Director, EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training Water WISER
  • University Policy Leader
  • Member University Research Intelligence Committee

Research interests

Barbara has been instrumental in building up a cross-faculty focus on SDG 6 and WASH services delivery in developing countries within the water@leeds  and the Centre for Global Development research portfolio. She is co-author jointly with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Emory University, Plan International, WaterAid, and the World Bank, of the global call to action for Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS).  Barbara is Co-I on the multi-million pound GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub.  She is currently working with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on research covering the global assessment of fecal sludge management options in cities of the global south; a new global approach to assessing and reporting the cost of urban sanitation services (CACTUS); and a revised approach for use in the IPCC to estimate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from urban sanitation (SCARE).  Barbara also leads a major workprogramme to link the science of climate change to urban infrastructure planning and delivery in East Africa (HyCRISTAL).  She is also collaborating on a number of initiatives across the University to research the emergence of Anti-Microbial Resistance, particularly associated with poor sanitation. 

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


  • BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering, University of Leeds
  • MSC (Distn) Development Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)

Professional memberships


Student education

I teach at both undergraduate and post graduate level - and am responsible for the trans-disciplinary masters programme in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering.  I also have undergraduate personal tutees and a signficant PhD supervisory role.

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering
  • Cities, Infrastructure and Energy

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>