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Ms Pam Furniss

Profile summary

  • Visiting Formal Academic
  • Visiting Fellow
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • pam.furniss

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Systems. My background is in the public and private sectors of the UK water industry. Teaching and research interests are mainly in water resources, sanitation, water and wetland conservation, and integrated environmental systems. In recent years my focus has been on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in developing countries and in particular on providing education and training for WASH sector development.

In 2013/14 I was a member of the UK QAA Benchmark Review Panel that sets the national standard for degrees in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences, known as ES3. I was a member of the Environment Agency’s Regional Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee until it was disbanded in 2011. I am a Chartered Environmentalist, a Member of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Teaching interests

I have contributed to many environmental modules over the years including, most recently:

U116 Environment: journeys through a changing world (OU Teaching Award for an ‘inspiring, innovative, student-centred introduction to environmental studies’.)

T891 Making environmental decisions

DST206 Environment: sharing a dynamic planet

T802 Research project.

External collaborations

I am Academic Director of the OpenWASH programme of learning resources for WASH training and education in Ethiopia. The programme was developed from my original idea in collaboration with the OU International Development Office.  We worked in partnership with UNICEF and World Vision with funding from DfID. I led the team of Ethiopian authors, OU STEM academics and LTS staff to produce five Modules and a Trainers’ Handbook, which are all available as OERs here . The Modules are being used in Ethiopia, primarily for curriculum support in training colleges, and may soon be adapted for other countries.

OpenWASH builds on my previous experience in Ethiopia as Environmental Health Adviser for the OU Health Education and Training in Africa (HEAT) programme as well as my OU undergraduate teaching, especially for U116.


Systemic environmental decision making: designing learning systems (2007)
Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris; Collins, Kevin and Furniss, Pam
Kybernetes, 36(9-10) (pp. 1340-1361)
Information in Water and Health (2015)
Furniss, Pamela
In: Bartram, Jamie ed. Routledge Handbook of Water and Health (pp. 507-513)
ISBN : 9781138910072 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Tools and techniques for environmental decision making (2009)
Furniss, Pamela and Blackmore, Chris
In: Wilson, Gordon; Furniss, Pamela and Kimbowa, Richard eds. Environment, Development, and Sustainability: Perspectives and cases from around the world (pp. 250-258)
ISBN : 9780199560646 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
Troubled Waters (2003-05)
Furniss, Pamela
In: Bingham, Nick; Blowers, Andy and Belshaw, Chris eds. Contested Environments
ISBN : 978-0-470-85000-8 | Publisher : Wiley/OU | Published : UK
Environment, Development, and Sustainability: Perspectives and cases from around the world (2009)
Wilson, Gordon; Furniss, Pamela and Kimbowa, Richard eds.
ISBN : 9780199560646 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK

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