Professor Keith Richards

Photo of Professor Keith Richards

MA, PhD.

Life Fellow
Emeritus Professor of Geography


Keith Richards has been researching and teaching in Cambridge, as a Fellow of Emmanuel and member of the Department of Geography, since 1984; more years than he cares to recall before then he graduated twice from the Department (BA and PhD). He was Director of Studies in Geography in Emmanuel from 1984-1994, Head of the Department of Geography from 1994-99, and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute from 1998-2002.


He is a fluvial geomorphologist and hydrologist with research interests in hydrological, hydraulic and sediment transport processes, and their effects on channel forms and dynamics. His research has been in glacierised mountain catchments and meltwater streams, in hot and dry climates (flood hydrology and flood reconstruction from sediments in arid-zone wadis), and in warm and wet river basins (channel changes in the middle Ganges plain, and extreme floods in Thailand). He has co-ordinated a series of EU-funded projects on floodplain ecology and hydrology, the last of which ("FLOBAR2") was concerned with river-floodplain restoration and floodplain biodiversity; further details are provided on the Geography Department's website. He is also interested in river basin, river and water management, and has been involved in research comparing the EU Water Framework Directive and its implementation with the water management institutions in China; this leads to a more general interest in the relationships between science and society.

He has published well over 150 articles in refereed journals, and has written or edited Rivers: form and process in alluvial channels; Geomorphology and soils; Slope stability; River channels: environment and process; Landform Monitoring, Modelling and Analysis; Glacier Hydrology and Hydrochemistry; and Arsenic pollution: a global synthesis. He has been on the editorial boards of Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, and the RGS-IBG Book Series; and is on that of the Journal of River Basin Management. He has variously been Secretary, Vice Chairman, and Chairman of the British Geomorphological Research Group, and Vice-President (Research) of the RGS-IBG; and has been a Geography panel member for three UK research assessment procedures (in 2001, 2008 and 2014), chairing the panels for the last two of these.