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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Brian Bromwich graduated from Dublin University, Trinity College in civil engineering with both Bachelors and Masters degrees. His early years with Yorkshire Water, Rivers Division involved the design and construction of land drainage and flood alleviation works. He was Resident Engineer on Barmby Tidal Barrage on the Yorkshire Derwent which was part of a scheme to supply the City of Hull with potable water. This barrage was an alternative to constructing a dam in Farndale in the North York Moors National Park.

Much of Brian’s later career involved the construction supervision of irrigation and water supply projects in the Middle East and Asia. He was employed by a well known firm of international consulting engineers based in Cambridge. He worked for 20 years outside Europe and he was involved in projects in China, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Yemen and Algeria. Between 1994 and 1998, he was Chief Resident Engineer on the Shanghai Environment Project to provide a new source of potable and industrial water for the city. Later he moved to the Yellow River Diversion Project in Shanxi Province which was designed to supply potable water to three cities from Wanjiazhai Dam involving extensive rock tunnelling and the transfer of raw water to other river catchments.

From 2001 to 2006, Brian worked in Dublin initially as RE on the “Luas” light rail cable stayed bridge in Dundrum. He then lectured full time in the civil engineering department in Trinity College for four years on both Bachelors and Masters courses and was Course Director for the Post Graduate Diploma in Construction Law and Contract Administration.

On retirement in 2006, Brian moved back to Cambridge and studied for the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development based in St Edmund’s College. His thesis topic was “A Sustainability Review of 150 years of Irrigation in India with particular reference to Uttar Pradesh”. This involved a short visit to Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee to collect field data for his thesis. The picture shows Brian in May 2007, during his field work at Sikandrabad, near Delhi.

Brian chose to do the SD MPhil because he had been involved in the implementation of a number of civil engineering projects and felt that it is important to understand more about why water projects succeed or fail and how funding from eg The World Bank could be spent more effectively.

Since completing the MPhil, Brian has been involved with small amounts of consultancy both paid and unpaid. This included assisting with the preparation of an Irrigation Design and Maintenance Manual for Helmand Province for DFID.  Otherwise he has been on Girton Parish Council where he has advised on planning issues especially drainage and flooding. In Cumbria he has been involved with the survey and design for the rehabilitation of a micro hydro scheme.


Brian Bromwich


Chartered Civil Engineer


July 2011 

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.