School of Civil Engineering and Surveying


Photo of Dr Sarah Percival

Dr Sarah Percival

  • Qualifications: BSc (Hons) MSc PhD
  • Role Title: Senior Research Associate
  • Address: Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth PO1 3AH UK
  • Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 2944
  • Email:
  • Department: School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
  • Faculty: Faculty of Technology


My academic career began at Plymouth University where I studied Environmental Science, specialising in environmental geology. After a gap year I did my MSc (by research) at the University of Bristol, where I focused on “Pressures today on the coastal zone in the UK and Australia – Examples of present-day implemented beach management with special regard to risk of sea level rise, using examples from UK and Australia”. I created a general risk model that could be applied to different case studies, where different types of coastal defense systems were being used i.e. hard or soft coastal engineering.

Staying in the vein of coastal flood risk, I began a PhD in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), at the University of Portsmouth, that was part funded by Ordnance Survey. The aim was to develop a methodology for analysing and mapping coastal flood vulnerability and risk, identifying critical hot spots in communities. This methodology captures crucial features of coastal flood vulnerability; integrating physical and socio-economic vulnerability data, combined with a flood hazard analysis, to give overall risk at neighbourhood (Output Area) level. This project provided a preliminary vulnerability analysis and mapping system, based on UK geoinformatic datasets, notably UK National Census data (2011) and map layers of the Ordnance Survey.

Currently, I am a Senior Research Associate in the School of Civil Engineering & Surveying (SCES) at the University of Portsmouth, working to establish an international Coastal Cities Network (CCN) focusing on flood vulnerability, resilience and adaptation.

Teaching Responsibilities

My research focuses on urban flooding (specifically coastal), how we assess (indexing) and map vulnerability, risk and resilience, use of geo-informatic data and tools (GIS) and visualisation and communication.