Contact Professor Tom Stephenson


Qualifications: BSc Biochemistry, University of York, UK. PhD, DIC Civil Engineering, Imperial College London. Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng). CEng, FIChemE, FHEA. 

Previous Experience: Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) Research & Innovation, PVC School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University. Senior Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering, Teesside University. Post Doctoral Researcher, Civil Engineering Department, Imperial College London.

External Appointments: Non-Executive Director, Marsh Industries, the leading manufacturer of package wastewater treatment plants. Ambassador for British Water, the trade association representing water sector supply chain companies. Founded Water Innovate Ltd, a University spinout, sold to Bluewater Bio. Advisor to the Board, Bluewater Bio, 2010-2021. Member of Lee Kuan Yew Singapore International Water Prize Jury (2016 onwards).

Research opportunities

Professor Tom Stephenson is interested in supervising / co-supervising self-funded full-time and part-time research students for PhDs and MSc by Research interested in:

Novel biological sewage treatment systems

Nitrogen transformations in bioprocesses

Small-scale and package wastewater treatment plant

Current activities

Tom's research focuses on biological wastewater treatment processes, including aerobic and anaerobic systems, fixed film and suspended growth processes, and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) removal. He has also led research in water treatment processes and water reuse and recycling. Recent projects have included biomineralistion for nutrient recovery from waste streams, nitrogen transformations, novel fixed film bioreactors and industrial effluent treatment. Tom previously worked on activated sludge processes, algal systems for wastewater treatment, biological aerated filters and package sewage treatment plants. 

Professor Tom Stephenson currently supervises PhD students on bioaugmentation for wastewater treatment.  He actively support innovation in the water sector, including start-ups and early stage technology companies. He is also involved in the water sector achieving net zero carbon emissions through membership of Water UK's Net Zero Expert Panel.

Professor Tom Stephenson's teaching interests are in wastewater treatment, biological processes and innovation in the water sector.


  • Anglian Water
  • Bluemethane
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Microvi
  • OFWAT Innovation Fund
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Thames Water
  • Warden Biomedia


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Stephenson Tom (2009) Municipal Sewage Treatment in 2050.
  • Stephenson T, Chilro N, Ballinger D, Edmunds S & Richmond H (2008) Use of the uncoupling effect to reduce sludge production in activated sludge. In: 13th European Biosolids and Biowaste Conference, Manchester, 10 November 2008.
  • Stephenson T, Wang Y, Yan M, Gao N & Ren M (2008) Impact of operating condition on the cyclic activated sludge technology (CAST) performance. In: IWA 9th National UK Young Water Professionals Conference, Newcastle University, 2 April 2008.
  • Stephenson T, Callister S & Harper PLS (2006) Impact of variable emissions rates on odour modelling at WwTW's. In: 4th CIWEM Annual Conference, Newcastle, 12 September 2006.
  • Callister S, Stephenson Tom, Butler M D & Cartmell Elise (2006) N-Tox® - Early warning of nitrification toxicity for activated sludge treatment.. In: 4th CIWEM Annual Conference, Newcastle, 12 September 2006.
  • Connolly H, Van der Gast C, Wylie D, Stephenson T & Thompson I (2005) Formulation of biologically treatable metalworking fluids. In: 13th International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Symposium, Madrid, Spain, 4 September 2005.
  • Bungay S, Craft D & Stephenson T (2005) The design, commissioning and operation of a single-stage plastic trickling filter. In: Third CIWEM National Conference, Wakefield, 1 September 2005.
  • Germain E, Stephenson T & Pearce P (2005) Optimising submerged MBR operation by focussing on the biology. In: Design and Operation of Activated Sludge and Biofilm Systems, Leeds, 21 April 2005.
  • Stephenson T & Rogalla F (2005) Biological aerated filters (BAF) - state of the art. In: Design and Operation of Activated Sludge and Biofilm Systems, Leeds, 1 April 2005.
  • Butler M, Cartmell E, Stokes L & Stephenson T (2005) Non-Invasive Monitoring for Early Warning Nitrification Failure. In: 78th Annual Water Environment Federation Conference, Washington DC, USA, 29 October 2005.
  • Stuetz R, Burgess JE, Bourgeois W & Stephenson T (2004) Biosensing systems for monitoring aerobic wastewater treatment processes. In: European Symposium Enviornmental Biotechnology, Ostend, Belgium, 25 April 2004.
  • Stephenson T & Daude D (2004) Package plants for decentralized sewage treatment - the UK situation. In: 6th IWA Conference Small Water and Wastewater Systems, Perth, Australia, 11 February 2004.
  • Stephenson T, Rogalla F & Cornell P (2004) Biofiltration in comparison: lessons learned over 21 years of full-scale experience. In: 77th Annual Water Environment Federation Conference, New Orleans, USA, 4 October 2004.
  • Stuetz R, Burgess JE & Stephenson T (2004) Non-invasive monitoring of wastewater nitrification failure. In: 20th Australian Water Association Convention, Perth, Australia, 1 January 2004.
  • Stephenson T, Del Solar J & Hudson S (2004) On-site treatment of a motorway service area wastewater using a package sequencing batch reactor. In: 6th IWA Conference Small Water and Wastewater Systems, Perth, Australia, 11 February 2004.
  • Smith S, Judd SJ, Stephenson T & Jefferson B (2003) Membrane bioreactors - hybrid activated sludge or new process. In: 5th International Membrane Science and Technology Conference, Sydney, 10 November 2003.
  • Brookes A, Judd S, Reid E, Germain E, Smith S, Alvarez H, Le-Clech P, Stephenson T, Turra E & Jefferson B (2003) Characterisation and impact of biomass foulants in membrane bioreactors. In: 5th International Membrane Science and Technology Conference, Sydney, Australia, 10 November 2003.
  • Jeffrey P, Stephenson T & Temple C (2003) Ever deeper and wider: incorporating sustainability into a practitioner orientated engineering curriculum. In: 3rd IWA International Conference Environmental Engineering Education, Zurich, Switzerland, 25 September 2003.
  • Stephenson T, Pollard S & Cartmell E (2003) Feasibility of biological aerated filters (BAFs) for leachate treatment. In: 9th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium, Sardinia, 6 October 2003.
  • Jackman S, Hampton S, Nathanail P, Guess P, Killham K, Paton G, Pollard S, Judd SJ, Stephenson T, Thompson I, Bailey M, Kalin R, Larkin M, Banwart S, Lerner D, Harris R, Beck P, Dalrymple I, Pallett I & Lethbridge G (2003) FIRST Faraday - A network of excellence in remediation of the polluted environment. In: ConSoil 2003, Ghent, Belgium, 12 May 2003.
  • Ratsey HL, Hannay N, Thomas CD & Stephenson T (2002) Activated sludge treatment of high strength industrial wastewater with onsite generation of high purity oxygen. In: 2nd International Conference Management of Wastewaters, Edinburgh, 14 April 2002.
  • Stephenson T (2002) BAFs vs MBRs: horses for courses. In: International Conference Wastewater Management and Technologies for Highly Urbanized Coastal Cities, Hong Kong, 10 June 2002.
  • Berry AL & Stephenson T (2002) High shear systems for wastewater treatment. In: IWA 3rd World Congress, Melbourne, Australia, 22 April 2002.
  • Stephenson T, Parsons SA & Longhurst PJ (2001) Industry-university co-operation in water and wastewater research and training. In: IWA International Conference Water and Wastewater Management for Developing Countries, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 October 2001.
  • Stephenson T (2001) Water Reuse in Japan - moving ahead in water recycling technology. In: Management Water Sustainably in the Built Environment, CIRIA, London, 29 November 2001.
  • Stephenson T, Hamblin D & Daude D (2001) Package treatment plants - a solution for developing countries?. In: IWA Interantional Conference Water and Wastewater Management for Developing Countries, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 October 2001.
  • Laine A, Jefferson B, Jeffrey P, Judd SJ & Stephenson T (2000) Water recycling from grey to black, the process engineering solution to the water resource problem. In: 2000 IChemE Research Event, Bath, UK, 1 January 2000.
  • Stephenson T, Diaper C, Parsons S, Strathern M & Strutt J (1999) In-building domestic water recycling - risk assessment. In: International Workshop on Cleaner Production, Seoul.
  • Jefferson B, Laine A, Brindle K, Judd S & Stephenson T (1998) Towards a sewerless city. In: Water Environment 1998, Maintaining the flow, London, 26 March 1998.
  • Jeffrey PJ, Seaton RAF & Stephenson T (1997) Coevolution of society and technology: Understanding the dynamics of communities and utility infrastructures. In: 1997 International Symposium on Technology and Society: Technology and Society at a Time of Sweeping Change, Glasgow, 20-21 June 1997.


  • Parsons SA & Stephenson T (2004) Introduction to Wastewater Treatment. In: Phosphorus in Environmental Technology - Removal, Recovery, Applications', IWA Publishing, London.
  • Stephenson T, Judd SJ, Jefferson B & Brindle K (2003) Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment (Japanese). IWA Publishing.
  • Judd S, Stephenson T (eds), (2002) Process science and engineering for water and wastewater treatment, IWA Publishing.
  • Stephenson T, Judd SJ, Jefferson B & Brindle K (2000) Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment. IWA Publishing.
  • Pollard S, Stephenson T (eds), Risk management for the water and wastewater utility sector, IWA Publishing.