A new fund to enable students to study for a PhD at Cranfield University was launched today, marking the contribution of distinguished former Cranfield water specialist Professor Sue White.

Professor White joined Cranfield University in 2002. Throughout her career she was passionate about welfare in Africa. She became the lead hydrologist on a project looking at how the fragile ecosystem in Tanzania could be better managed, and in 2009 was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to work at Stanford and Texas A&M universities in the US.

The Sue White Fund for Africa, established with her generous bequest, provides funding to enable students to study for a PhD award with Cranfield University in topics related to her research. The fund will support students researching water and sanitation, catchment processes and water management. Students will be based in Africa for the majority of their studies.

Professor Elise Cartmell, Director of Environmental Technology at Cranfield University said:

“Professor White made a vast contribution to our understanding of water catchment management and its impact on some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, as well as being a valued colleague and inspiring tutor. It is fitting that we are able to support future researchers working in the fields she was passionate about.” 

Sheila White, Professor White’s mother who attended the launch, said: “I am very proud and pleased that both Sue and the research she was so passionate about are being acknowledged, remembered and continued in this way by Cranfield University.” 

Cranfield University has been awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work pioneering improved water services which benefits the quality of lives and livelihoods in the most impoverished parts of the world. Professor White’s research and legacy were a key part of this success.

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Sue White's family visit campus

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield

For the past 50 years, Cranfield has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water and air.

We believe that environmental problems can be alleviated through technological innovation and risk management.

Cranfield is a key partner in two of the four UK Government-sponsored Agri-tech Centres – Agri-Epi (Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre) and CHaP (Crop Health and Protection), with over £10 million invested in new infrastructure since 2017.

Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Reference Centre for Soils, which houses the largest collection of its kind in Europe and is recognised as the UK’s definitive source of national soils information, and our big data visualisation suite, which has tools to analyse big data collections including environmental resources from 280 countries/territories worldwide.

In 2017, Cranfield was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research and education in large-scale soil and environmental data for the sustainable use of natural resources in the UK and worldwide, the first time in the Prize’s history that an award has been given for soil science.