Kristen Splinter

Kristen Splinter
Managing Director and Associate Professor
UNSW Water Research Laboratory
Contact details:
(+61) 2 8071 9845

Kristen SplinterKristen has completed a PhD in Geological Oceanography with specialisation in Sediment Transport. She has a graduate certificate in Marine Resource Management, as well as a Master of Science in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Engineering) degree, with first class honours in Civil Environmental Engineering.

Kristen has over 20 years of applied and fundamental research experience in the fields of coastal processes and hazards, engineered wetland design, and coastal structures. Her research uses physical and numerical modelling as well as field data collection to better understand coastal processes. Her team pioneers the use of remote sensing in the coastal zone, including lidar, UAVs (drones), and video cameras within Australia.  

Kristen has a passion for training the next generation of coastal engineers and brings relevant and fundamental real engineering projects into the classroom. She supervises undergraduate Honours thesis, Masters and PhD students on topics including beach erosion and recovery, human safety on floating structures, design of coastal structures in reef environments and reef hydrodynamics. Her collaborators include local government, as well as researchers at national and international universities and the US Defence Force. 

Kristen is an active member of the international coastal engineering community, regularly publishing work in technical conferences and journals. Her work examining reef hydrodynamics has won the Engineers Australia Kevin Stark Award for best paper at the bi-annual Coasts and Ports conference series. Her work on modelling shoreline variability and dune erosion has been recognised in international journals for high citation.

As a female engineer, Kristen has a strong desire to support and encourage more women into the discipline. She currently advocates for better gender equity within the Faculty as a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, at the University level as co-chair of the Women in Research Network (WiRN), and internationally as a committee member of the Women in Coastal Geosciences and Engineering (WICGE). She is a committee member of the Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean and Port Engineering Panel (COPEP) and currently sits on the International Conference on Coastal Engineering (ICCE 2020) organising committee and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

Current grants

  • Splinter, Turner, Coco, Palmsten. DP200100134. Quantifying the impact of infiltration on dune erosion under waves & surge. $370K
  • Turner, Lowe, Greenslade, Plant, Hansen, Splinter. LP170100161. An Australian storm wave damage and beach erosion Early Warning System. $505K

Areas of research (student) supervision

I am looking for talented and motivated engineering students with a keen interest in Coastal Engineering topics related to nearshore processes, sediment dynamics, coastal impacts in a changing climate, dune erosion, numerical modelling of coastal processes and reef-top hydrodynamics. My (virtual) door is always open to chat to prospective students. Please email me for more information at:

For more information about my research, please visit my UNSW Research Page and my Google Scholar. You can also find me on social media on Twitter @KDSplinter and LinkedIn.