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Centre for Sustainable Development

Est 2000 - home of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

Francesca studied civil and environmental engineering at Imperial College as an undergraduate. She has since worked and volunteered as a water engineer in Mexico for Engineers-Without-Borders, India and most recently, in Sub-Saharan Africa for two years with Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) in South Sudan and Central Africa Republic, providing water and sanitation to displaced populations.

She was in the 2013- 2014 MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development cohort and carryied out her PhD research in the Centre for Sustainable Development as part of the FIBE CDT. Her research focused on identifying the factors that influence water security in low-resource settings. She used qualitative and quantitative research techniques to assess how rainwater harvesting can contribute to improved water security. She won a National Geographic Explorers Award for her PhD research and for Blue Tap, a social enterprise that Francesca founded that 3D prints household water purifying solutions for users in urban environments.

Blue Tap website:


Francesca was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through the FIBE Centre for Doctoral Training.





Dr Francesca O'Hanlon

Image of Francesca O'Hanlon