Fundamentals of Coastal Processes and Risk Management


1-day course

CPD Credit: 7 hours, C1/C2

Course Aim

The purpose of this course is to introduce the concepts of coastal processes controlling landform evolution and coastal risk management. Delegates will learn about the physical processes that control how coastal landforms evolve over short- (storm events) and long- (decades to centuries) time periods and how coastal change models can inform planning decisions.

Course Overview

This course is intended as an introduction to coastal processes (waves; wind; tide; humans; sea level) and landforms (beaches; dunes; estuaries; saltmarsh; cliffs; tidal flats) and how our understanding of coastal change can inform risk management. A persistent challenge in Ireland has been the lack of useful data and the fragmented management of the coast with a multitude of departments and public bodies having a remit in the coast but with policy objectives that do not align with each other. This has made it very difficult for local authorities and communities to take action locally to combat pressures on the coast: flooding, erosion, biodiversity loss, tourism or declining socio-economic conditions. Defending the entire coastline of Ireland would be prohibitively expensive and destroy many of the features unique to our coastal culture and heritage. Therefore, we urgently need to identify ways to adapt legacy management practices to mitigate physical and socio-economic pressures. This course explore the options available to engineers and planners, including Nature-based Solutions.

Course Objectives

After the course, the participants should be able to:

  • Understand the basic processes driving coastal change over short- and long-time periods.  
  • Identify the key datasets available in coastal change models.
  • Assess how new Earth Observation technology can be incorporated into existing work programmes.
  • Recognise the barriers and enablers of embedding coastal dynamics into planning decisions.
  • Understand the practical dimensions of designing, monitoring and evaluating Nature-based Solutions. 
  • Recognise the value in participatory approaches in risk management.

Course Programme

Morning session

  • Introduction to coastal processes and management 
  • Risk management and key decision makers
  • What data is available? what data is useful?
  • Application of remote sensing technology to measure coastal change

Afternoon session

  • Coastal hydrodynamic and morphodynamic models
  • Nature-based Solutions 
  • Stakeholder participation
  • Q & A

Who Should Attend?

Consulting engineers with an interest in coastal engineering, coastal dynamics and risk management. Basic knowledge of coastal engineering is required.

Trainer's Profile

Dr Eugene Farrell, Asst. Professor, University of Galway

Dr Farrell is a Lecturer in the Discipline of Geography in the University of Galway. His research interests are in coastal geomorphology, environmental management, and new technologies to support field science. Currently he pursues research in coastal geomorphology; the application of UAV and satellite (EO) technology to coastal systems; modelling the response and recovery of nearshore-beach-dune systems to short-term (storms) and long-term pressures (climate change; people; policy); and partnerships with coastal communities to develop ‘local solutions for local problems’. Dr Farrell has over 50 publications in coastal science and has research funding in excess of €7M. He was appointed as Ireland’s nominee for the European Marine Board working group ‘Coastal Resilience’. This prestigious appointment is directing coastal and marine policy in Europe and funding for Horizon 2020. He has an international standing in the fields of coastal geomorphology and climate adaptation as evidenced by his appointment as an international reviewer for ten different national and international funding organisations, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), The Leverhulme Trust (UK), UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and others. 


Engineers Ireland supports the Sustainable Development Goals. This event contributes to Engineers Ireland's Sustainability Framework.

Please contact the Team for further information on scheduled course dates and In-Company options. You can reach us by phone: 01 665 1305 or email