Research Profile

Deborah Chapman


I obtained my PhD in limnology in 1981 from Royal Holloway College, University of London in conjunction with the Freshwater Biological Association and subsequently held several postdoctoral research positions in the University of London, where I developed research programmes on the ecotoxicological effects of sewage sludge disposal to sea and the transfer of contaminants through the marine food chain. In 1986 I joined the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Monitoring and Assessment Research Centre (MARC) in London, participating in the international monitoring and assessment activities of UNEP and the World Health Organization (WHO), and assisting in global environmental assessment programmes. In 1988 I was promoted to Deputy Director of MARC and took responsibility for the developing country workshops and training programme, and global environment data review and compilation.

In January1990 I moved to Ireland as a freelance Environmental Consultant working mostly on international and developing country projects mainly for WHO and UNEP and assisting with the compilation of State of the Environment reports, such as UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook 1997 and the Commission of the European Communities’ Europe's Environment 1993. Other clients included the Stockholm Environment Institute and the World Bank. I was also invited to give seminars and advice on water quality monitoring in several developing countries, and I was commissioned by WHO to edit and produce many books on water resources and environmental management, including the internationally successful Water Quality Assessments: A guide to the use of biota, sediments and water in environmental monitoring. The second edition produced in 1996 has been used widely as a postgraduate student text in the UK and the Netherlands, and in developed and developing countries by Consultant Groups, Aid Agencies and Water-related Authorities.

In 1998 I joined UCC as lecturer and co-ordinator for the Environmental Studies degree, and in 2002 I was appointed as permanent Lecturer in Environmental Science, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008. During this time, I developed and directed two BSc Honours degree programmes, Environmental Science and Environmental Management, and supervised research on the science and functioning of aquatic systems as a foundation for successful management, and on aspects on water quality in relation to use and impacts from human activities. I also established collaboration in research and teaching with the University of Geneva and other Eastern European Universities and Institutes. In 2014 I was successful in negotiating an agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the establishment of the UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre at UCC. This Centre is now responsible for capacity development activities in water quality monitoring and assessment worldwide for UNEP, including support for the new Sustainable Development Goal target for good ambient water quality. I am currently the Director of this Centre but have retired from my role as Head of Environmental Science in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences in UCC

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

Distillery Fields, North Mall, University College Cork, Ireland , T23 N73K.