Dr Derren Cresswell

Dr Derren Cresswell

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Research Fellow in Public Engagement

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Derren holds a NERC Innovation Placement grant to work with Citizen’s UK in order to embed the use of environmental data, knowledge and understanding into community organising practice. From the 1st August 2019 he will continue in a similar role for the NERC funded Engaging Environments Project.

Many of the crucial environmental issues facing the UK (and the rest of the world) have a social justice dimension and many of the social justice issues have an environmental aspect: Derren’s work therefore draws on the interconnectedness of nature and society, recognising that part of the solution to environmental problems requires local actions from a broad-base of civil society institutions.


  • BSc (Hons) Natural Environmental Science - Earth Science (University of Sheffield, 1993)
  • MRes Built Environment: Waste Management (University of Leeds, 1996)
  • PGCE Geology and Science (Keele University, 2010)
  • MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics (University of Leeds, 2012)
  • PhD Structural Geology (University of Birmingham, 2018)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


After completing his MRes in 1996 Derren worked in the minerals and waste sector initially focusing on recycling a range of mineral wastes as civil engineering materials, and then developing and managing projects to minimise and mitigate the environmental impacts of mineral extraction. During this time Derren volunteered for community organisations and social enterprises in practical and governance roles.

After a return to academia to undertake his MSc, a brief period as a secondary teacher, and a role with the Environment Agency, Derren embarked on his doctoral research in structural geology. He was awarded his PhD in December 2018. In May 2019 he completed his Citizens UK national training in Community Leadership (accredited by Newman University).

During his PhD write-up, Derren worked on the NERC funded engaging Environments ENCOMPASS project which developed the link between community organising practice with Citizen’s UK and environmental science research. This work included a range topics including clean air, plastics pollution and urban green space.


As a doctoral researcher Derren contributed to teaching via field courses and lab-based practicals and project work.


Derren’s current research focuses on how environmental science in the broad perspective can be aligned with the environmental concerns of local communities. He uses a community organising approach combined with his broad-based environmental background to create links and build public relationships based on environmental issues. His research interests in geology lie in the complex interaction of faults and the provision of material resources for society. Of particular interest is highlighting that our society will still have a need for resources as it transitions from carbon based energy systems to ones based on renewable sources. A wider understanding of the need and potential impact of extracting rare elements and elements such as copper is required if we are to minimise our environmental impact.  


Lymer, G., Cresswell, D.J., Reston, T.J., Bull, J.M., Sawyer, D.S., Morgan, J.K., Stevenson, C., Causer, A., Minshull, T.A. and Shillington, D.J., 2019. 3D development of detachment faulting during continental breakup. Earth and Planetary Science Letters515, pp.90-99.

Davy, R.G., Morgan, J.V., Minshull, T.A., Bayrakci, G., Bull, J.M., Klaeschen, D., Reston, T.J., Sawyer, D.S., Lymer, G. and Cresswell, D., 2017. Resolving the fine-scale velocity structure of continental hyperextension at the Deep Galicia Margin using full-waveform inversion. Geophysical Journal International212(1), pp.244-263.

Laursen, K., White, T.J., Cresswell, D.J.F., Wainwright, P.J. and Barton, J.R., 2006. Recycling of an industrial sludge and marine clay as light-weight aggregates. Journal of environmental management80(3), pp.208-213.

Wainwright, P.J., Cresswell, D.J.F. and Van der Sloot, H.A., 2002. The production of synthetic aggregate from a quarry waste using an innovative style rotary kiln. Waste Management & Research20(3), pp.279-289.

Van der Sloot, H.A., Hoede, D., Cresswell, D.J.F. and Barton, J.R., 2001. Leaching behaviour of synthetic aggregates. Waste Management21(3), pp.221-228.

Wainwright, P.J. and Cresswell, D.J.F., 2001. Synthetic aggregates from combustion ashes using an innovative rotary kiln. Waste Management21(3), pp.241-246.

View all publications in research portal