Areas of expertise

  • Applied Informatics
  • Environment and Health
  • Monitoring and Environmental Informatics
  • Water Science and Engineering


Dr Francis Hassard is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health Microbiology at Cranfield Water Science Institute.  He provides technical leadership in drinking water microbiology. 

Dr Hassard is Visiting Lecturer at the University of South Africa.

Former visiting researcher at De Montfort University.

Francis has a distinct research agenda into the following topics:

Biofiltration for sustainable potable water production

Flow cytometry and analysis of water pathogens

Emerging pathogens and public health surveillance

Micropollutants treatment: including PFAS, microplastics, pesticides and taste / odour compounds

Wastewater biofilm reactors

His postdoctoral research focused on the study of biogeochemical determinants of water quality and nutrient dynamics taking whole catchment approaches. Francis' PhD research focused on biofilm reactors for wastewater treatment and the study of hazardous micro-pollutants. His first degree was in Marine Biology at the University of Southampton, where he also achieved a distinction in a Masters on the same topic. Before joining Cranfield, Francis worked at Bangor University as a Research Associate and Atkins Global as a technical specialist in water quality and environmental modelling.

Research opportunities

I am currently recruiting for doctoral research students in the general area of water microbiology.

Self funded PhD students should contact directly for discussion of opportunities.

Research students: 

PhD candidates (3-4 years) 

MSc by Research (12 months research project)

Visiting research students/placements/internships (no less than three months, ideally 6 months or more)

Current activities

Research Themes

Francis' research seeks to develop areas including:

Enumeration of emerging pathogens.

Wastewater-based epidemiology / surveillance

Biological treatment of micropollutants 

Next generation biofiltration systems for water treatment

Other responsibilities:

Francis is Academic Lead and Point of Contact for the National Research Facility in Water and Wastewater Treatment.

He leads a working group on Water Biofilms as part of the UKRI BBSRC EBNet.

Member of Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Committee

Regular Peer-Reviewer for:

Scientific Reports

Science of the Total Environment

Environment International

Water Research

Academic profiles:


WoS -


Google Scholar - 

Mass Media:

  • Guardian Skip the dip? Swimming in the sea increases risk of illness, analysis suggests -
  • New Scientist Sewage surveillance spots new covid-19 variants as effectively as PCRs -
  • Reuters World News Sewage testing could protect schools, hospitals from COVID-19 outbreaks
Television and Radio Appearances:

    Social Media: 

    Completed projects for Regulators, UK Research Councils and Industry:

    In excess of £4.5 million 


    Natural Environmental Research Council, Severn Trent Water, UK Water Industry Research, Thames Water, Defra Drinking Water Inspectorate, Royal Academy of Engineering, South-east Water, Northumbrian Water, Affinity Water, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK Health Security Agency. 


    Articles In Journals

    Conference Papers

    • Jago C, Howlett E, Hassard F, Jackson S, Malham S, Rajko-Nenow P, Robins P, (2017) Turbulence control of the flux of particulate matter, nutrients and pathogens in the river-estuary transition zone of a shallow macrotidal estuary. In: 19th European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017 (EGU2017), Vienna, 23-28 April 2017.