Philip John Soar Portrait

Dr Philip Soar

Reader in Physical Geography

PhD Supervisor

View my research outputs


I am a senior lecturer in physical geography and joined the Department of Geography from JBA Consulting in 2008, where I was a Technical Director and consultant fluvial geomorphologist. I graduated with first class honours and the Geography Prize from the University of Nottingham in 1996, and went on to complete a PhD at Nottingham in 2000 on channel restoration design for meandering rivers, sponsored by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Vicksburg, MS. I then completed a three year NERC funded project as a post-doctoral research associate at Nottingham on physically-based design criteria for riffle-pool sequences in river rehabilitation schemes.

At JBA, I was a founder member of their geomorphology team and worked on a wide range of river and flood risk management projects, while continuing collaborative research with the University of Nottingham through an Industrial Fellowship. At Portsmouth, my research interests lie in the fields of river processes and management with a particular focus on the development of best-practice methods for sustainable restoration design and performance testing of schemes for post-project appraisal. I have held workshops in fluvial geomorphology and river restoration at several international conferences and delivered training courses for the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the River Restoration Centre.

Research interests

My main research interests stem from PhD work on channel restoration design and a background in applied fluvial geomorphology. The focus of my research is investigating physically-based criteria for characterising river channels and developing approaches for geomorphologically sustainable river management, with a priority on river restoration design and evaluation approaches that can be applied routinely within acceptable bounds of uncertainty.

My present research foci are:

  • Performance assessment for river restoration schemes (PARRS), with particular emphasis on the restoration potential of the in-stream devices (with Dr Pete Downs of Plymouth University);
  • The emerging field of eco-hydraulic modelling in the representation and evaluation of velocity fields and physical habitats in managed rivers (with Prof Nick Clifford of King’s College London);
  • Developing best practice guidance and design support on the delineation, spatial coherence and dynamics of 3D physical habitat patches for routine monitoring of rehabilitated rivers;
  • Investigating existing and new metrics of geodiversity for rapid assessment of river management schemes;
  • Multiple design discharges for river restoration design - linking design discharges to morphological features and physical habitat attributes that can inform channel restoration design for meandering rivers in addition to the conventional channel-forming discharge.