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Dr Andy Swan

About Dr Andy Swan

Dr Swan is an academic and water engineer with a wide range of postgraduate work experience. He has worked in both Industry and Academia on a range of domestic and international engineering projects, including an extended VSO placement as a researcher at the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development, Zimbabwe, Africa.

From his research activities he has established the WETS (Water, Enterprise, Technology and Society) research cluster.

WETS is an interdisciplinary research group of researchers drawn from across Leeds Beckett University with a common focus upon water issues within developing regions of the Global South. The cluster has undertaken research projects across Africa and South America. Dr Swan has obtained research funding to a value of £270k from both UK and international funding sources. He has secured and managed EU FP7 funding for the University through the role of Principal Investigator (PI) on the AguaSocial project. This 5 partner collaborative FP7 project with the Universita degli Studi Roma Tre (Italy), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), Universidade Federal do Para (Brazil) and the Universidade do Estado do Amazonas Fundao (Brazil) began in late 2013. He also acted as PI on a collaborative Innovate UK funded project with Environmental Monitoring Solutions (www.em-solutions.co.uk) in 2015.

Dr Swan is currently the Director of Studies (DoS) for 2 Post-graduate students (PhD and DEng) and has acted as a supervisor for 3 further PhD/MPhil students. He has acted as both an internal and external PhD examiner. Dr Swan has produced publications ranging from learned journals, conference papers and technical reports (over 20 publications to-date).

He has presented papers and seminars at a number of International Conferences and Institutions. These include presentations to: the WATERNET/WARFSA/GWPaSA symposiums; South Africa’s ARCaInstitute for Agricultural Engineering, Pretoria; and the Irrigation Engineering group at the University of KwaZuluaNatal. In September 2012, he taught on the EU’s 2nd STREAM Summer School in Rome.

Current Teaching

  • BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering:
    • Hydraulics and Water Engineering (Module leader)
    • Project Design (Module leader)
  • BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering:
    • Fluid Mechanics (Module leader)
  • MSc in Civil Engineering:
    • Fluid Mechanics and Water Engineering (Module leader)

Research Interests

Dr Swan’s research activities focus upon some of the key water-related challenges and issues in developing regions of the Global South, including the operational unreliability of water infrastructure. For example, many communities are served by local water infrastructure that is poorly functioning, or has fallen in to a state of disrepair; which can then force communities to use unprotected water sources, and increase their exposure to a range of water-related diseases. Another broad area of research interest relates to the opportunities and challenges associated with ‘off-grid’ communities (in terms of their access to mains water and/or electricity) in developing regions, but who live ‘on-grid’ in terms of their access to mobile phone networks. Two recent projects are highlighted below:

  • Appropriate telemetry projects:
    Many rural communities are served by water pumps that are broken, or deliver poor quality water. Conventional methods for both operational, and quality, monitoring require regular site visits to remote locations, which can be costly and time consuming. These factors may limit the amount of monitoring undertaken in the field. Telemetry based monitoring techniques could help overcome some of these problems. Work is underway to develop low cost appropriate telemetry tools for monitoring both the post-construction performance and water quality of remote water points in developing regions. This area of research is the focus of an on-going PhD study at Leeds Beckett University, and of collaborative investigations between the University and Environmental Monitoring Solutions (EMS). These collaborations have benefited from Innovate UK funding.
  • Combined solar off-grid recharging hub and community water point:
    Research is underway in Gambia to assess the merits of a pilot study that combines an off-grid recharging hub with a community water point. The modus operandi of this arrangement involves local users paying a small fee to recharge portable smart-battery packs (which can then be taken home to power mobile-phones, lighting, etc.). It is intended that a proportion of the income generated by this enterprise will be retained, and used to fund the on-going maintenance costs of the recharging hub and the local water infrastructure. This area of research is the focus of an on-going DEng study at Leeds Beckett University, and of collaborative investigations between the University and Mobile Power.

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