Carolyn is a water resource management specialist with many years of experience of research and consultancy work in the UK and overseas, mainly in relation to the impact of developments such as housing, mining, waste disposal and industrial premises on water quantity and quality. She has published widely on aspects of water management, flooding and drought, and was the Technical Advisor to Gloucestershire County Council following the serious flooding of summer 2007. She also occasionally undertakes specialist research for the police, looking at the transport of human bodies in river and canal networks, particularly in connection with murder inquiries. As well as being a Fellow of IES, and a Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Scientist, she is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, and the Royal Geographical Society. She still dabbles in personal research, and is currently directing a Natural Environment Research Council-funded project, Project FOSTER, which concerns good practice in communications between environmental scientists and Local Authorities.
Earlier in her career, Carolyn spent eight years as Head of the large School of Environment at the University of Gloucestershire, developing an interest in innovation in Higher Education teaching and learning, and eventually directing the Centre for Active Learning (CeAL), one of the UK’s national Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Whilst at Gloucestershire she also published widely in areas of Higher Education pedagogy, and on sustainable development. Carolyn promotes inquiry-based and research-informed teaching, particularly in the areas of students’ skills in scientific inquiry, constructing arguments, and presenting ideas effectively. She is a National Teaching Fellow, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Professor Carolyn Roberts was a 'Specialist' with the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), based at the University of Oxford. KTN is part of UK Government-funded agency Innovate-UK 'family', that links businesses to universities to catalyse innovation in environmental technologies. KTN's specialists work with businesses and universities nationally and internationally. Membership is free to individual people interested in environmental technologies and innovation.
Carolyn sees the IES as a key player amongst the UK’s learned societies and professional bodies, and served on the Council from 1991 - 2017, acting as Chair from 2006-2009. She was elected as a Vice President on retirement of the Chair. Prior to that she was Chair of the Education Committee for several years. In 2012 she was elected Chair of SocEnv, a position she held until 2014.