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Larissa A. Naylor

Professor of Geomorphology and Environmental Geography, University of Glasgow

I am an internationally recognized, award winning geographer with proven expertise and interests at the interface between geomorphology and engineering, climate change risks, impacts and adaptation where my work shapes policy, planning and practice and in coastal and urban settings.

I have an international track record in coastal biogeomorphology, coastal erosion, ecological enhancement of green engineering project, and a rapidly growing profile in catchment science, knowledge exchange, urban ecosystems, urban green infrastructure and coastal climate change adaptation and the how these impact on socio-ecological systems. I have worked from the microscopic to catchment scales, in coastal and terrestrial settings, in Canada, the UK, Australia, China and continental Europe in partnership with government agencies from national to local scales, non-profit organisations, engineering consultancies and construction companies.

Between my PhD in 2002 and my return to academic part-time in 2007, I worked in and with industry and government, helping to address environmental challenges facing society and develop mechanisms to implement shape and implement environmental (water, agricultural, coastal, flooding and marine) policies to improve ecological and societal resilience. I thus have a diverse background as a physical and environmental geographer, who has worked at the science-policy-practice interface both from within academia and as a practitioner. I currently work very closely with strategic planners within cities on housing and flood engineering projects to help improve ecosystem services and climate change resilience in statutory plans and urban regeneration projects. This work has shaped devolved Government policy in Scotland and Wales, and my expertise has led my work to be featured in International Exemplars of Best Practice (e.g US Corps of Army Engineers Engineering with Nature Atlas 2nd Edition). It has also led me to be invited to co-lead a chapter in forthcoming international guidelines on Natural and Nature-based Solutions for coastal and river environments.

Since returning to academia from government/industry on a part-time basis in 2007 (gaining a tenure track position in 2014 and tenure in 2018), I have secured £2.5 Million in research grants as Principal or Co-Investigator, won 9 awards, published 55 journal articles and co-edited 4 special issues. For example, my 2018 British Society for Geomorphology’s mid-career award stated, “Dr Naylor is an impressive example…. She is highly intelligent, energized, and passionate, deeply rooted in conceptual understanding… She is active in applying geomorphology to the significant societal issues we face in the Anthropocene.” In May 2020, I was invited to give an Invited Frontiers Talk at the European Geosciences Union conference on, “Re-imagining urban coasts: a socio-geomorphology lens to enhance life in an era of extremes.”

For the past 6 years, I have broadened beyond my scientific foundation into environmental geography, where I have worked with social scientists, planners, health practitioners, artists and engineers in the UK to help grapple with global grand challenges such as how to improve urban and fragile karst ecosystem services, coastal resilience and adaptation to climate change and by working with engineers to green the greyest parts of our cities. This work has been externally funded by the United Kingdom research councils, working with external partner organisations to co-produce outputs which have led to measurable policy and practice changes, thus having notable societal and REF research impact. Beyond the UK, I have been a principal and/or co-investigator on three UK-China funded projects where I led the knowledge exchange research and mobilisation work packages where we worked with local farming communities and local – regional scale government to understand if, from whom and how environmentally sensitive farming practices are learned, as well as local community preferences for learning. This is helping identify how best we can bring local and scientific knowledge together, to help advance critical zone science and also help the local regions better meet their sustainable development goals.


  • –present
    Professor of Geomorphology and Environmental Geography, University of Glasgow
  • 2018–2020
    Reader, University of Glasgow
  • 2015–2018
    Lecturer , University of Glasgow
  • 2013–2015
    Teaching Fellow, University of Glasgow
  • 2007–2013
    Research and Teaching Fellow, University of Exeter
  • 2004–2006
    Ecosystems Scientist, Environment Agency
  • 2003–2004
    Environmental Consultant, Woolsey Parsons (Komex)
  • 2002–2003
    Research Fellow, University of East Anglia


  • 2002 
    University of Oxford , DPhil in Geography


Gordon Warwick Award, British Society for Geomorphology (2018), Halcrow Award, Institution of Civil Engineers (2018)