Areas of expertise

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


Dr Francis Hassard is a Lecturer in Public Health Microbiology at Cranfield Water Science Institute, where he provides technical leadership in potable water microbiology. 

Francis has a distinct research agenda into biofiltration for drinking water treatment. I focus on next-generation municipal water services (drinking water, wastewater, stormwater) framed around biofilms and resource recovery (i.e. water and nutrients) for improved ecohealth and living conditions; integrated with quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) to identify research gaps and management targets.  

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 area of applied microbiology of drinking water. 

Current activities

Research Themes

Francis' research seeks to understand disinfection in drinking water systems and understanding the role of biofilms as reservoirs of resistance to disinfectants such as chlorine and antibiotics.

The use of Next Generation Sequencing technologies for understanding how bacterial community dynamics influence the formation of Disinfection-By-Products.

Understanding the role of bacterial extracellular enzyme activity on water treatment efficacy.

Developing strategies and techniques for enumeration of emerging pathogens.

Peer-Reviewer for:

Scientific Reports

Science of the Total Environment



Proceedings of the AICE -  Water Management

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Conference Organising Committee:

19th UK-IWA Young Water Professionals Conference Towards a Resilient Water Future

10th Conference of the UK Network on Potable Water Treatment & Supply

11th Conference of the UK Network on Potable Water Treatment & Supply


Natural Environmental Research Council

Severn Trent Water

UK Water Industry Research

Thames Water 

Drinking Water Inspectorate

Royal Academy of Engineering


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.