UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Dr Mohammad Shamsudduha

Dr Mohammad Shamsudduha

Research Associate

Inst for Risk & Disaster Reduction

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Mar 2012

Research summary

Shams is a Research Fellow (Water Risks) at UCL IRDR. Shams’ specific research interests include (1) risks of water supply and food insecurity: resilience of terrestrial water resources to sustain irrigated agriculture and fresh drinking-water supplies in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa; (2) risk to public health and food-grain production associated with chronic exposure to toxic metals (e.g. arsenic, salinity) in untreated groundwater-fed water supplies in Asian Mega-Deltas; and (3) impacts of changes in global climate and land-use on groundwater replenishment and risks of rising sea levels, and more frequent and extensive flooding on livelihoods of dwellers in low-lying deltas in South and Southeast Asia.

Shams has 15 years of experience in the field of geology & hydrogeology conducting research assessing groundwater storage and recharge dynamics in alluvial aquifers with a special interest on natural groundwater contamination and terrestrial water storage dynamics in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Through his interdisciplinary research, Shams has extended advanced statistical methods (e.g., non-parametric seasonal-trend decomposition procedures, generalised regression models) to hydrogeology in order to assess spatio-temporal trends and seasonality in groundwater levels and relationships between a range of hydrogeological characteristics and arsenic. He constructed a national-scale groundwater-level database for Bangladesh which he applied to validate GRACE satellite measurements of changing groundwater storage in the Bengal Basin, Bolivian Altiplano, and the Upper Nile Basin. Shams led a collaborative research examining the impacts of groundwater arsenic contamination on pregnancy outcomes, and collaborated on a research on resilience of groundwater to climate change and increased human use in the Indo-Gangetic Basin. Currently, Shams is leading a research on pan-African inter-comparison of groundwater recharge from in situ observations and large-scale models to understanding recharge processed in various geological environments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shams has written more than 25 peer reviewed papers in leading international journals including Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Nature Scientific Reports, Water Resources ResearchHydrology and Earth System Sciences, and Hydrogeology Journal. Key contributions include terrestrial water load in the Bengal Basin in Nature’s Scientific Reports; construction of a national-scale groundwater-level database for Bangladesh published in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences; and field validation of GRACE satellite data published in Water Resources Research

Teaching summary

Shams has been involved in teaching for a number of years. Shams teaching experience started in 2005 when he was appointed as a teaching fellow at Auburn University (USA). At UCL, Shams co-convenes an M.Sc. module (Climate Risks to Hydro-Ecological Systems), and regularly gives guest lectures on a number of postgraduate modules in a number of UCL departments.

Shams' philosophy about teaching is to make the learning process interesting, inspiring and, at the same time, practical and interactive. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Geology at the Auburn University Shams taught undergraduate students Physical Geosciences (taught topics included Mineralogy, Petrology, Water Resources, and Natural Disasters) for two years between 2005 and 2007. Over the same period, Shams also taught GIS and Remote Sensing to graduate students and Environmental Geology (taught topics included Water Resources, Geohazards – Earthquake, Population and Disaster Management) to undergraduate students at Auburn University. One of the challenges that Shams faced with was teaching introductory geosciences to students who were majoring in various other subjects, often too distant from the subject matter. Shams overcame this challenge using attractive visuals and models that helped students to use their imagination about the topic and learn more effectively. At the UCL, while Shams was completing his doctoral research, he acted as a Teaching Assistant helping undergraduate students with their research topics and proposals that are required component of a final-year undergraduate course, Water and Development in Africa. At UCL IRDR, Shams regularly gives lectures to M.Res. and M.Sc. students as part of the core modules entitled Integrating Science into Risk and Disaster Reduction and Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards and Vulnerability. Shams also gives lectures on other UCL modules including Wetlands, Lakes (Geography), Climate Change and Health (Institute for Global Health), and Earth Resources & Sustainability (Earth Sciences).


University College London
PhD, Hydrogeology | 2011
Auburn University
MSc, Geology | 2007
University of Technology, Sydney
MS, Hydrogeology | 2004
Dhaka University
MSc, Geology | 2001
Dhaka University
BSc Hons, Geology | 1998


Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha (“Shams”) is a Research Fellow at UCL Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction (IRDR) and the Project Manager of a UK Government-funded international consortium project, GroFutures (Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa). Shams completed his Ph.D. in Hydrogeology from UCL Department of Geography in 2011 and joined IRDR in March 2012. Shams also holds a B.Sc. and several M.Sc. degrees in Geosciences from University of Dhaka, University of Technology Sydney (Australia) and Auburn University (USA). Throughout his long academic career traversing four continents, Shams has been supported by a number of prestigious national and international awards and scholarships including a Wingate Geography Scholarship 2010 (The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, UK), a Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award 2007-2010 (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of UK), a Sigma Xi Outstanding Research Award 2007 (USA), and an Outstanding M.Sc. Thesis Research Award 2006 (Geological Society of America, USA) and an Australian Agency for International Development Postgraduate Scholarship 2003-04.

Shams has been an active member of several research organisations including the International Association of Hydrogeologists (British Chapter), American Geophysical Union, and Geological Society of America.Shams has more than 15 years of experience in conducting research, largely collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, with universities, research institutes, government departments, and non-governmental organisations. Shams has co-developed long, successful research partnerships with the Bangladesh Water Development Board and University of Dhaka (Bangladesh), and Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, the University of Technology Sydney (Australia), the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (USA) and Auburn University (USA). Here in the UK, Shams closely works with the British Geological Survey and a number of universities and research organisations. Under the current research project, GroFutures, Shams is expanding his research arena within the Sub-Saharan Africa that includes Ethiopia, Tanzania, Niger and Nigeria. Additionally, Shams is currently serving as an Associate Editor for the journal of Climate Risk Management.