Prof Ian Turner departs WRL after six years

On 2nd December, Professor Ian Turner stepped down as Managing Director of the UNSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL) after six years in the top position. Prof Ian Turner led the UNSW Water Research Laboratory for six years

As WRL Managing Director, his goal was to advance the WRL’s mission to utilise its world-class facilities, equipment and specialist personnel to solve complex problems related to water and the environment. 

Under Prof Turner’s leadership the WRL’s state of the art facilities and equipment were expanded and engagement with the community increased significantly. WRL’s large wave basin with its new multi-segment wave paddles is the envy of research laboratories around the world—and a big drawcard for the annual community open day that was reintroduced in 2018 after a five-year hiatus.  

Prof Turner was also successful in finding new and innovative ways to integrate different disciplines and interests with water as a common thread. This year, he fostered a unique, successful collaboration between WRL scientists and engineers and local contemporary Australian artists whereby inspirational interpretations of water research were created and exhibited at the local Manly Art Gallery and Museum.  

Over the past six years, Prof Turner has also significantly raised the profile of the University’s coastal engineering group both nationally and internationally. 

Of his tenure as WRL Managing Director, Prof Turner said, “this has been the most rewarding period of my time at UNSW to-date.” 

Prof Turner is a Coastal Engineer and is also Deputy Head of School, Civil & Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney. His current research interests include monitoring of coastal change and impacts of climate variability; coastal erosion forecasting and coastal management.

Recently, his extensive contribution to coastal engineering saw him recognised as Australian Leader in the field of Ocean and Marine Engineering and one of the country’s top 250 researchers.  

The role of WRL Managing Director has been assigned to Prof Denis O’Carroll, formerly Director of the UNSW Water Research Centre.

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