Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Associate







304Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






I am a research associate on the CAMELLIA project (, primarily as a water resource system modeller. My role will involve both creating models of Thames Water’s various urban water systems and integrating their existing models. A key focus of our approach is the interaction between physical and social systems. By capturing the feedback between systems that are not usually coupled, we hope that our analysis will reveal unintended consequences and benefits that arise from long and short-term decisions.

Research Themes

-Water resources modelling. I have a wide range of experience in modelling water supply systems. I hope to transfer these skills towards modelling not just supply but wastewater, water quality and flooding.

-Uncertainty and systems analysis. A key focus of my PhD was in quantifying the uncertainty in a water resource system model that arises due to the model boundaries. The boundary between social and physical systems is probably one of the most important model boundaries yet among the least studied.

-Optimisation. I have always been interested in optimisation and developed a broad understanding of optimisation in the context of the control of water systems. I believe optimisation is critical to both modelling complex systems and in making the models more useful applications.


2018-2019 - Research Associate in water resources at the University of Oxford. During this position I worked with Prof Jim Hall on the Marius project ( in creating a model of the entire water supply for England and Wales.

2014-2018 - PhD titled Uncertainty in modelling and optimising water resource systems at the University of Bristol as part of the WISE CDT ( During my PhD I was supervised by Dr Francesca Pianosi and Prof Thorsten Wagener. I passed my viva with no corrections in 2019.


2019, Dobson, B., Pianosi, F., Wagener, T., An argument-driven classification and comparison of reservoir operation optimization methods, Advances in Water Resources,, doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2019.04.012
2019, Dobson, B., Pianosi, F., Wagener, T., How important are model structural and contextual uncertainties when estimating the optimized performance of water management systems? Water Resources Research,, doi:10.1029/2018WR024249
2018, Dobson, B., Miles-Wilson, J., Gilchrist, I., Leslie, D., Wagener, T., Effects of flood hazard visualization format on house purchasing decisions, Urban Water Journal,, doi: 10.1080/1573062X.2018.1537370

(under review), Dobson, B., Pianosi, F., Robustness under uncertainty: a multi-objective perspective, Environmental Modelling and Software
(under preparation), Dobson, B., Coxon, G., Freer, J., Gavin, H., Mortazavi-Naeini, M., Hall, J., The Spatial Dynamics of Droughts and Water Scarcity in England and Wales
(under preparation), Pianosi, F., Dobson, B., Are reservoir operation optimisation methods used in practice? Insights from a survey of reservoir operators in England and Wales, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management