I obtained a BSc in geography from the University of Nottingham in 1993 and then went on to undertake a PhD in fluvial geomorphology there studying the interaction between woody vegetation and channel stability based upon rivers in Mississippi, USA. This work was sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and involved both fieldwork and laboratory (flume) studies. Following completion of my PhD I worked for a short while in Boston, USA for a river engineering firm and also for the USDA before returning to the UK to undertake post-doctoral research in river sediment transport processes and associated flood risk, again based at the University of Nottingham. This was followed by a two-year post-doctoral position at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, where I investigated the dynamics of river-borne debris build-up at culverts and bridges. Subsequently, I moved to the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Kuala Lumpur for three years where I was employed as a lecturer teaching river channel dynamics and hydraulics in the Department of Civil Engineering.