Pitfalls and progress: Engineering sustainable sanitation for all

Join Professor Michael Templeton, online or in person, for his Imperial Inaugural.

We have limited in-person spaces available so please ensure you register in advance.


It’s a common question– ‘how is it that we can put a person on the moon, yet so many people around the world live without a toilet?’ The answer is complex and multi-dimensional, though we can be confident engineers will play as significant a role in solving the latter challenge as they did the former.

However, addressing today’s global development challenges, such as sustainable sanitation for all, requires a different way of working and thinking about engineering problem-solving – one with cross-disciplinary working and co-creation with end users as core principles.

Michael Templeton is Professor of Public Health Engineering at Imperial College London. In his inaugural lecture, he will present the latest trends and lessons learned regarding improving global access to safely managed sanitation, and the crucial role that engineering research and innovation must play going forward.


Professor Michael Templeton conducts research that underpins engineering solutions to public health challenges related to water and sanitation, mainly in developing countries, through the application of scientific approaches to designing, testing, and implementing novel technologies and processes. The research is highly inter-disciplinary, often including collaborations with researchers in the natural sciences, medicine / public health, and the social sciences. His research also typically involves collaboration with overseas partners and directly with end user communities. To-date he has co-designed and conducted research with colleagues in countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, and Nepal.

Professor Templeton is the Oxfam and Water For People / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Global Sanitation Technology. He has served on strategic advisory groups and technical review panels for the World Health Organization, the UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Swedish Research Council, and he Co-Chairs Imperial’s recently launched Global Development Hub.   He is also a passionate educator and served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from January 2016 to March 2022.


We are adopting a public health approach that we believe will keep our students and staff safe, and ensure that we can continue teaching, undertaking research and running events. Please take a look at our College webpages for more information.

We encourage all members of our community and visitors to continue wearing face coverings in most indoor settings on campus. Wearing a face covering is particularly important in crowded, enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

If you are displaying symptoms of respiratory disease we advise you to not attend the event unless you are able to test and produce a negative COVID-19 result.


Michael Templeton will also be speaking in the upcoming Imperial Alumni Reception in Geneva, for more information or to register please visit the event page here: Alumni reception in Geneva with Professor Mike Templeton

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