Richard is a Chartered Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. After a period working for an engineering consultancy he has pursued an academic career, completing his doctorate in 1988 and joining Cambridge University’s Engineering Department in 2002. He has led the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development for the last 17 years, establishing it as a unique internationally leading programme designed to encourage young engineers to rethink how they deliver engineering goods and services. He has written extensively on issues relating to engineering education and is co-author/joint editor of the books Sustainable Infrastructure: Principles into Practice (2014) and Sustainable Water (2016). He has served on a number of editorial panels for the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers and also on Steering Groups for the Environment Agency, Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE). Currently he is a Member of the Editorial Advisory Panel for Nature Sustainability.
He has been a Fellow of Wolfson College since 2006 and serves on the College's Carbon Reduction Committee. He is the recipient of several awards from the Institution of Civil Engineers, including the George Stephenson Gold Medal, R A Carr Prize and James Watt Medal; the Senior Moulton Medal from the Institution of Chemical Engineers; and a University of Cambridge Pilkington Teaching Prize.