Dr Rachel Fisher PhD MEng

Dr Rachel S. Fisher

Department of Civil Engineering
Assistant Professor

Contact details

Department of Civil Engineering
School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Rachel Fisher is an Assistant Professor within the School of Engineering, working at the interface between academia and industry. Their research focuses on extreme weather hazards, transport infrastructure resilience and climate change adaptation. As a recognised expert in weather hazards and climate change adaptation of transport infrastructure Dr Fisher has provided consultancy to transport infrastructure owners in the UK. Rachel is currently a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow Delivering a Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Pipeline for Resilient Future Mobility.


  • PhD – Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2021
  • MEng – Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience, University of Birmingham, 2014


Rachel joined the University of Birmingham in 2010 when they studied an undergraduate Masters degree in Civil Engineering with Industrial Experience in the School of Civil Engineering. During this time, they gained industry experience during summer placements through the RESPECT Scheme with a contracting firm with an onsite role for both road and railway projects. Following successful completion of their degree, Rachel began a PhD in Civil Engineering conducting research into the effects of weather hazards on railway infrastructure in Great Britain. They undertook research in collaboration with the Infrastructure Owner Network Rail which included a Research Associate post delivering analysis relating to maintenance and drainage asset condition.

In 2019 Rachel joined the Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education as an Industrial Liaison Fellow within the Centre for Excellence for Digital Systems. Primarily this role engaged industry and academic partners to jointly undertake research in the areas of autonomous systems and smart sensing. Due to their prior experience they also successfully secured funding for the BCRRE research group to undertake research projects in the areas of sustainability, resilience, and climate change impacts. In this role Rachel has directly contributed to the successful award of over £500k to undertake research within the BCRRE.

Alongside their academic role Rachel has also undertaken consultancy to delivery research strategy for infrastructure owners in the areas of asset management, weather resilience and climate change adaptation. Rachel’s combined experience across various roles has provided them with in depth insight into the challenges facing transport systems and asset managers with the onset of significant changes to the global climate.

Rachel’s current role is as an Assistant Professor within the School of Engineering which she began following the award of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Knowledge Exchange Fellowship (NE/X001938/1 2022-2025 PI £150k). They will continue to work at the interface between academia and industry to “Deliver a Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Pipeline for Resilient Future Mobility”.


  • BEng/MEng Civil Engineering
  • MSc Railway Engineering

Postgraduate supervision

To date Rachel has supervised 7 Masters level students to completion on the MEng Civil Engineering and Rail MSc programmes. They continue to supervise Masters students alongside beginning to supervise PhD research. Rachel is presently a co-supervisor of two PhD students who are both delivering research to address challenges faced by Network Rail and the rail industry.


Research interests

Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation, Asset Management, Weather Hazards, Infrastructure Networks, Transport Systems, Nature Based Solutions, Climate Change Education, Equitable Mobility

Since 2022

NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, School of Engineering UoB

Rachel secured a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship in 2022 which will enable them to deliver research to address a critical knowledge gap. The focus of the project is on evaluating the current education and training in place for engineers on the topic of climate change impacts and adaptation. The project considers how this translates in the transport sector and at a regional scale. The project will provide tools to educate key stakeholders across the transport sector as well as evidence that there needs to be a greater expectation of our educators to modify engineering curricula to be climate  conscious.

Find out more

ORCID research profile


Fisher, R.S., 2023. Briefing Note: Transport Industry Climate Change Adaptation Training Needs. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00004288

Axelithioti, P.; Fisher, R.S.; Ferranti, E.J.S.; Foss, H.J.; Quinn, A.D. What Are We Teaching Engineers about Climate Change? Presenting the MACC Evaluation of Climate Change Education. Educ. Sci. 2023, 13, 153. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13020153

Begum, S.; Fisher, R.S.; Ferranti, E.J.S.; Quinn, A.D. Evaluation of Climate Change Resilience of Urban Road Network Strategies. Infrastructures 2022, 7, 146. https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures7110146

Fisher, R. S., 2021. Quantifying the Vulnerability of GB Rail to Temperature and Precipitation in Order to Improve Resilience. University of Birmingham

View all publications in research portal