skip to content

Centre for Sustainable Development

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


Professor Paul Jowitt


Please click here for pdf of slides of the plenary session by Professor Paul Jowitt, Herriott Watt University.

Paul Jowitt is Professor of Civil Engineering Systems and Executive Director of the Scottish Institute of Sustainable Technology at Heriot Watt University.  He was a Board Member of Scottish Water from 2002 to 2008.  He graduated from Imperial College in 1972, and was a Lecturer there from 1974 until he moved to Heriot Watt in 1987, becoming Head of Civil and Offshore Engineering from 1989 to 1999.  In 1997 he was an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he still has strong connections with the engineering community.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005 and was President of the ICE from November 2009 – November 2010.

Paul's major interests are sustainable development and systems-level solutions in engineering and the environment, particularly in water resources, risk-based asset management and water distribution systems.  He was awarded the ICE's 1987 Trevithick Premium for work on reliability and levels of service in water supply networks.

Paul was Chair of the ICE Presidential Commission - "Engineering without Frontiers" - examining the engineer's contribution to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals, and now chairs the ICE's International Development Policy Group.  He was the author of the ICE's 6th International Brunel Lecture - "Engineering Civilisation from the Shadows" – which addressed the related engineering challenges of climate change, international development and poverty reduction.

Paul also has a strong interest in the educational and professional formation of the civil engineer, chairing an ICE/JBM Task Group to embed sustainable development into engineering curricula and professional development, which led to the award of the 2005 ICE Trevithick Prize.

He was Chairman of the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Association in 1994-95.  He is a former Editor of the ICE's Water, Maritime and Energy Journal and currently a member of the Editorial Panel of the ICE Journal "Engineering Sustainability".  He is also Editor of "Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems".

Paul has media experience in connection with water resources, waste management, and maintenance of the Forth Bridge.  He is also a trustee of the Forth Bridges Visitor Centre and the engineering charity "Engineers Against Poverty".  He is a member of "The Edge" - an ICE/RIBA/CIBSE Ginger Group created to increase public and political awareness of the role of engineers and architects.  In 1996 his lecture on water resources - "From the Metamorphosis of Ajax to the Sweet Water of Leith" - featured in the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

In his private life he enjoys old cars and old houses, being the owner of one of Edinburgh's last surviving mews stables properties in the Dean Village.  Since 1966 he has been the owner, driver and restorer of a 1937 Morgan Motor Tricycle (a Matchless MX4 990cc V-Twin powered Barrel Back Super Sports), and more recently a Morgan 4/4.  He also enjoys painting, sculpture and digging an allotment at the Dean Art Gallery.