1991 …2022
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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Dr João is Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and she is the course leader for the MSc in Environmental Entrepreneurship. She has expertise in the areas of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), environmental analysis, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), scale effects, spatial data quality, enhancement of positive impacts, sustainability and the circular economy. Her current research focuses on how enhancement can improve project design and strategic planning, and how best to implement the circular economy. Together with Dr Girma Zawdie, she supervises the PhD student Jack Barrie, a Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and they have set up the first postgraduate class on the Circular Economy at the University of Strathclyde.

Dr João has been one of the key people promoting SEA in the UK and since 2002 she has trained more than 500 practitioners on SEA from more than 60 different organisations. She was elected one of the directors of the prestigious International Association for Impact Assessment for the period 2014-2017. IAIA (http://www.iaia.org/) is the leading global network on best practice in the use of impact assessment for informed decision making regarding policies, programs, plans and projects. A truly international association, IAIA has more than 1,600 members from more than 120 countries. Dr João is part of the Scottish Government-sponsored Centre of Expertise for Climate Change (ClimateXChange), she is a member of the international editorial board of the journal ‘Environmental Impact Assessment Review’ and she is the editor of the IAIA Key Citations. She was shortlisted for best teacher awards at the University of Strathclyde in 2013 and 2015. Finally, she is the leader of the innovative SME Carbon Clinic, run in collaboration with the Carbon Trust, where students carry out carbon audits for small and medium size organisations.


Teaching Interests

EV939 - Environmental Impact Assessment

CL927 - Writing and Presenting Research

CL929 - Client-based environmental entrepreneurship in practice                        

CL986 - Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods

CL961 - Geographical Information Systems

CL972 - Sustainability & Strategic Environmental Assessment

CL973 - Independent study in collaboration with industry

CL988 - Leading Issues in Circular Economy

Socio-Economics of Wind Energy Systems

Business skills applied to wind energy systems

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of London

Master of Geography, University of North Carolina

Bachelor of Engineering, New University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal


  • Environmental enhancement
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Climate Change
  • Uncertainty
  • Circular Economy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Elsa João is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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strategic environmental assessment Earth & Environmental Sciences
Geographic information systems Engineering & Materials Science
map generalization Earth & Environmental Sciences
GIS Earth & Environmental Sciences
environmental assessment Earth & Environmental Sciences
Geographical Information System Social Sciences
environmental impact assessment Earth & Environmental Sciences
Canals Engineering & Materials Science

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2005 2022

Research Output 1991 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)
Open Access

Can dredged canal sediments be used for flood defences as part of the Scottish circular economy?

Lord, R., Bertram, D., Cochrane, N., Hamilton, A., Jakstys, I., Joao, E., Robinson, P. & Torrance, K., 1 Jul 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Open Access
Climate change


Creating sustainable workplaces together : employee relations practice and environmental management

Author: Bratton, A., 1 Oct 2013

Supervisor: Findlay, P. (Supervisor) & Joao, E. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Evaluating the opportunity that could be provided by underutilised non-agricultural land as a source of bioenergy

Author: Mellor, P., 1 Jan 2017

Supervisor: Lord, R. (Supervisor) & Joao, E. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Activities 2004 2017

Training day on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control for delegates from the Hebei Provincial Government

Vernon Phoenix (Speaker), Richard Lord (Speaker), Elsa Joao (Speaker), Christine Switzer (Speaker), Charles Knapp (Speaker)
5 Dec 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Impact Assessment & Design - World Cafe (IEMA’s Scotland West Network Event)

Elsa João (Speaker)
7 Dec 2017

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk