Keith Tovey

Keith Tovey


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Personal profile


I read Mechanical Sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and for my PhD had the opportunity to be one of the pioneers into the development of electron microcopic methods for studying soil microfabric in the Engineering Department at Cambridge. Following four years as a junior member of faculty in that Department, I joined the School of Environmental Sciences in 1973. During most of 1979 I was an Associate Professor in the Geology Department at Arizona State University. In 1981 I became a chartered Civil Engineer.

During 30 months of unpaid leave of absence from UEA from 1982 to 1984, I advised the Hong Kong Government on landslide matters, and was responsible for establishing the Geotechnical Information Unit as a central repository for all geotechnical, geological, hydrological and related information in Hong Kong. At the time the unit was unusual as it was open to the public all of whom had access to information on any of the several tens of thousands of boreholes which had been drilled.

I made substantial advances in quantitative image analysis of soils during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s with collaborative research with Arizona State University, University of Glasgow, Moscow State University, University of West Indies, Jamaica, and Hong Kong University. At the same time I began my research interest in energy related matters. From 1992 to 1996 I was Vice Chairman of Sub Commission B of the International Society of Soil Science and from 1996 to 2002 I was International Secretary, (and for much of the time also Acting co Leader) of the International Geological Correlation Programme 396: Continental Shelves in the Quaternary.

Since 2001, my research has been largely focussed on energy and carbon reduction although during parts of 2003 – 2005 I also developed new methods of landslide hazard management in Trinidad in a collaborative project with the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.

Since 2003, I have been regularly advising numerous groups within the Energy Industries and Parliaments, from Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakstan, and more recently on collaborative projects exploring low carbon futures in China. In 2003 I became Energy Science Director of CRed (the Carbon Reduction Programme) and more recently also as HSBC Director of Low Carbon Innovation at UEA. Both these roles have involved numerous presentations to public bodies as well as the Scientific Community in promoting low carbon futures for the UK.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

The development of quantitative methods to analyse the stability of composite river banks; research into landslide hazards and their management; energy and low carbon covering not only the physical and technical sides, but also the economic and social aspects of these fields.

Significant Publications

  • Tovey, N.K. and Paul, M.A. (2002). Modelling self-weight consolidation in Holocene Sediments. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment. 61: 21-33. DOI: 10.1007/s100640100126
  • Tovey, N.K. and Dadey, K.A. (2002). Quantitative Orientation and Micro-Porosity Analysis of recent marine sediment microfabric Quaternary International. 92: 89-100. DOI: 10.1016/S1040-6182(01)00117-3
  • Tovey, N.K. and Yim, W.W-S. (2002). Desiccation of Quaternary Shelf Sediments: Microfabric. Observations: Quaternary International. 92: 73-88. DOI: 10.1016/S1040-6182(01)00116-1
  • Tovey, N.K. and Turner, C. (2006). Carbon Reduction Strategies at the University of East Anglia,Municipal Engineering (full proofs available – Publication due 1st December 2006)

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository


Renewable energy; power stations; carbon dioxide emissions; energy conservation; landslides; electron microscopy; image analysis.