Chartered Scientist


About CSci

Bob Sargent


CIWEM is in many ways a natural home for an environmental hydrologist like me, but I recognise it may not meet the needs of all people. CIWEM gained its charter in 1998 but has also been keen to promote the Science Council. I am now a Chartered Scientist as well as a chartered member of CIWEM, and its current President.

I work in a consulting environment, and being chartered is considered important by my employer. This is because of the need to present a project team which is clearly professionally capable. CSci is regarded by clients as similar to CEng and fits onto the staff profiles in project bids and presentations. It’s shorthand for a level of achievement, a professional approach and a commitment to continuing development.

As part of my work with CIWEM I am a member of the business and science professional board which assesses applications for membership of both CIWEM and CSci. This has led to a number of discussions about what is a scientist, and what should we expect a chartered scientist to be like? In my view a professional scientist is somebody who applies scientific principles in their work, by which I mean the collection and assessment of data, the formulation of theories and predictions, and the testing of them followed by the reassessment of results.

This, together with a scientific education and a commitment to continuing professional development, marks out a chartered scientist in my opinion. The CSci qualification clarifies and promotes these qualities and provides a common framework for practitioners regardless of their specialist subject.

In my present role I am responsible for the hydrology business in Hyder Consulting, a large international consultancy. My interests therefore include the presentation of a competent team to potential clients and the maintenance of acceptable levels of professional and technical performance. CSci helps in both these – it shows that our staff are professionally qualified to a high level and are committed to professional development. We often need to put together teams from a wide background to cover all the elements of a complicated brief. CSci provides a common level of achievement across many disciplines as well as equivalence with chartered engineers.