Professor Geoff Petts
Professor Petts has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Westminster since 1 August 2007.
He studied physical geography and geology at the University of Liverpool and gained his PhD at the University of Southampton. He was appointed to a lectureship at Loughborough University in 1979, was awarded a chair in 1989, and became head of department in 1991.
In 1994 he moved to the University of Birmingham as Professor of Physical Geography and Director of Environmental Research and Management. Two years later, he founded that University’s Centre for Environmental Research and Training (CERT). He was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham in 2002, before taking up his appointment as Vice-Chancellor at University of Westminster.
Professor Petts has established a reputation for inter-disciplinary research that engages stakeholders to identify key problems and then focuses on fundamental studies to develop the next generation of tools to tackle these problems. This approach has become the ‘brand’ of CERT at Birmingham.
His own research is at the interface of hydrology, geomorphology and ecology to address the sustainable development of water projects. His publications include 20 books and more than 100 scientific papers. He is founder and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal River Research and Applications.
Professor Petts has held a number of external appointments, including a term as a Director of the International Water Resources Association (1992-94) and Council Member of the Freshwater Biological Association (2000-2003).
He has been a member of several scientific advisory committees including the International Council for Science (ICSU); the Scientific Committee on Water Research; UNESCO IHP Eco-Hydrology Programme; and US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Long-term Monitoring Programme for the upper Mississippi River.
Currently, Professor Petts is a member of the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Programme Development Group, Vice President of the new International Society for River Science and an adviser to the US Nature Conservancy’s Great Rivers Partnership. In 2007, he was awarded the Busk Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for his contributions to inter-disciplinary research on river conservation.
- Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE (1996 - 2007)
- Professor Terence Burlin (1984 - 1995)
Prior to 1992, the University of Westminster had a series of names over its 170-year history:
- The Royal Polytechnic Institution (1838-1881)
- Regent Street Polytechnic (1881-1970)
- The Polytechnic of Central London (1970-1992)
- The University of Westminster (1992 to present)