Staff profile

Dr Sian Davies-Vollum

Head of School - Built and Natural Environment

Sian Davies-Vollum




College of Science and Engineering


School of Built and Natural Environment

Research centre

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre




Derby Campus



I am Head of School of the Built and Natural Environment in the College of Sciecen and Engineering. This means that I oversee the academic programmes and research across Environmental Sciences, Buit Environment and the Centre for Minneral Products. I am a geologist/physical geographer by training and my research and teaching interests are in environmental and climate change. I am an experienced field scientist and have conductred field work in North Anerica, Europe and Africa. 

Teaching responsibilities

I teach in modules across Geology and Geography related to Environmental Hazards and Sedimentology, as well as contribute to teaching on field courses. I have experience in designing and developing curricula in Geoscience and have published a number of articles on teaching and learning in Higher Education

Professional interests

I am currently the Executive Secretary of Universities Geoscience UK. This role allows me to work with other Heads of Geoscience at Schools and Departments from across the UK on matters of national interest and importance to the subject area. I am also on the accreditation committee for the Geological Society, which reviews and accredits Geoscience degrees and the editorial board for the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society. 

Research interests

I am interested in climate and environmental change in the geological past and present. My background is in sedimentology and field geology and I have been able to use this expertise in interdisciplinary projects across geology and environmental science, contributing to international and UK-based projects on coastal change, paleoclimatology, coal geology, and fluvial/coastal sedimentology.

My current research focus is on elucidating the physical and social impacts of climate change in coastal West Africa, leading an interdiscplinary team of social and natural scientists. I am also working with biologists to understand the role of freshwater mussels on sediment in rivers and streams and with the Sheffield Area Geological Trust on the geosconservation and recording of urban geological sites. 



Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Recently I have given presentations at:

International experience

My career has taken me all over the world. I was an academic in the USA for 18 years (1994-2012) with posts at the Smithsonian Institution, Amherst College, Ball State University, Pomona College and the University of Washington-Tacoma. I have led study abroad trips and taught on four Semester at Sea voyages visiting countries across the globe. I have taken part in research projects in Africa, North America, and Europe. 

In the media

I've been interviewed on radio and television, discussing a variety of topics in geoscience. 

Recent publications

Recent publications (since 2015) are noted here:

Davies-Vollum, K.S., Raha, D. and Koomson, D., in press, Climate cahnge impacts and adptation: focus on lagoonal fishing communities in West Africa. African handbook of adpation of climate change. Springer. 

Komsoon, D., Davies-Vollum, K.S. and Raha, D., 2020,  Characterising the vunerability of fihsing housholds to climate and environmental change: insights from Ghana. Marine Policy 120. 

Hamza, O., De Vargas, T., Boff, F.E., Hussain, Y. and Davies-Vollum, K.S., 2019, A case study on geohazard assessment of ladnslides in South Brazil. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering .

Davies-Vollum, K.S., Zhang, Z. and Angyekhumene, A, 2018, Journal of Coastal Conservation, Impacts of lagoon opening and implications for coastal management: a case study from Muni-Pomadze lagoon, Ghana.

Jin-long, L., Hamza, O., Davies-Vollum, K.S. and Jie-qun, L, 2018, A case study of shield tunnel uplift by secondary grouting. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 80: 313-321. 

Davies-Vollum, K.S., P. D. Guion, J. Knight & A. Smith, 2016. Guide to the Geology of the National Coal Mining Museum (Caphouse Colliery), Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 61: 97-108.

Davies-Vollum, K.S., and West, M., 2015, Shoreline change and sea-level rise at the Muni-Pomadze coastal wetlands (Ramsar site), Ghana, Journal of Coastal Conservation 19 (4): 515-525.

Selkin, P.A., Boyle, J., Carlini, A.A., Davies-Vollum, K.S., Dunn, R., Kohn, M.J., Madden, R.H. and Strömberg, C. A. E., 2015, Climate, dust and fire across the Eocene-Oligocene transition, Patagonia, Geology 43: 567-570.

Further details of my publications are available on my Researchgate profile.

Yoga pose near the water

Sian Davies-Vollum, Lecturer in Geoscience and Yoga Teacher of 16 years, discusses the health benefits of taking up yoga.