Professor Sterling has research interests in Fluid Dynamics, Wind Engineering and Water Engineering. His research in Water Engineering is mainly directed towards understanding and evaluating the conveyance capacity of rivers, while within the field of Wind Engineering he has carved out two distinct areas of research, namely the effect of wind on plants and the effects of extreme wind events. He has have been involved in a variety of research council and industrial funded projects, has a research portfolio in excess of £1,600,000 and has published over 90 journal/conference publications.
He teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level on a variety of subjects including Structural Engineering, Water Engineering and Environmental Fluid Mechanics.
Professor Sterling’s research in Water Engineering is mainly directed towards understanding and evaluating the conveyance capacity of rivers, i.e., fluvial flow. He has developed this understanding via a three pronged approach: physical modelling (publications 1 -3, 5, 74 (see publication section of CV for numbering)), numerical modelling (publications 4, 22, 28 – 30, 34 – 36, 66, 69 and 73) and field work (publications 33, 67 and 75). As a result of his work in this area, five PhD students have graduated (all with minor modifications). Sterling has undertaken collaborative research with a number of well respected Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), e.g., Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, Leeds University, UNESCO-IHE and Delft University of Technology and is currently in discussions with a variety of other HEIs regarding collaborative research.
Within the field of Wind Engineering he has established an international reputation in two distinct areas, namely the effect of wind on plants and the effects of extreme wind events. The foundations of his expertise with respect to wind on plants were laid during his time as a Research Fellow on a BBSRC funded project (“The development and validation of a model for predicting the risk of lodging in cereals” [D11611]). This was a particularly challenging area of research due to its multidisciplinary nature requiring successful collaborations with biologists, agronomists and engineers.
His work in this area has generated significant impact: publications 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 37 - 42; the development of a model used by industry yielding an annual turnover of ~£25,000; research funding (£14,100 via ADAS); PhD supervision (Cheng); invited presentations (La Plata University, 2002; University of Buenos Aires, 2002 & 2006).
His work examining the effects of extreme wind events has also generated significant impact thus creating an international profile: publications 8, 11, 13 – 19, 23, 31, 32, 43, 46, 47, 49, 52-55, 58, 60, 61, 67, 69, 70 and 71; funding from the Royal Society to construct the world’s largest downburst generator; invited presentations (La Plata University, 2002, 2006; TORRO conference, 2009; Keynote lecture - EEBP VI conference, 2010; external examiner, University of Sydney, 2009); guest editor for a special edition on Wind Engineering, Proceedings of ICE - Structures and Buildings Journal; editorial board member, Proceedings of ICE - Structures and Buildings Journal. Sterling’s international reputation in Wind Engineering was recognised when he was elected to the board the international association of Wind Engineering and tasked with organising the next European and African Conference on Wind Engineering (2013).