Postgraduate Research Opportunity

Ecological impacts of Nature-Based-Solutions for flood-risk management from catchment to coast

Details

Title: Ecological impacts of Nature-Based-Solutions for flood-risk management from catchment to coast

Funding: The studentship will provide the PhD candidate with a costs of living stipend equal to UKRI rates and cover UK resident tuition fees. International applicants are eligible to apply but they would have to demonstrate they have funding to cover the difference between UK and International tuition fees, that difference is approximately £14,800 per year at present.

Application deadline: 27th January 2023 at 4:00pm.

Start date: October 2023

Duration: 3 years (full time)

Location: Colchester Campus

Based in: School of Life Sciences

Background

The University of Essex is a partner in the U.K. Environment Agency Innovative Resilience Fund (IRF) Project "Catchment to Coast" which aims to reduce surface water and coastal flooding to communities in Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea.

This will be achieved by piloting natural flood management (NFM) techniques, including nature-based solutions (NBS), changing agricultural practices to reduce pollution and trialling different approaches to establish saltmarshes in the Thames estuary. Your studentship will be fully integrated into this exciting partnership.

The project

This fully funded Ph.D. studentship will evaluate the impact of natural flood risk management (NFM), and related nature-based solutions, on catchment ecosystem functions including co-benefits for ecosystem services (biodiversity, carbon sequestration, flood defence).

The primary focus will be on small river systems, catchments, coastal habitats (salt marsh and intertidal flats), in south Essex. This research will be addressed through a combination of field monitoring, experimental manipulation, and working with a team, including Industry, Government Agencies, and non-government organisations working together to deliver the wider Catchment to Coast project. The outcomes will contribute towards determining the most effective NFM strategies for reducing lowland flood risk while maximising ecological benefits.

The high level aims of all the projects in the Environment Agency IRF programme are to support the development of a broad range of resilience actions to better protect and prepare against flooding and coastal change, to use nature based solutions to store or slow the flow of flood waters, make better land use and development choices, whilst all the time adapting to climate change.

The student will receive training in appropriate field and experimental techniques, and work closely with modellers, engineers, local authority officers, consultants and external partners throughout the period of research.

Time may be spent based in partner organisations. The successful student will be associated with the NERC ARIES DTP, and take part in cohort training within that framework.

The student will be supervised by Professor Graham Underwood and Dr Tom Cameron (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex), within a wider supervisory team from the Catchment to Coast project. This is one of a pair of PhD studentships (one at University of Essex focussed on ecological responses, one at Kings College, London with a focus on hydrology and modelling) within the Catchment to Coast project.  

Funding

The studentship will provide the PhD candidate with a costs of living stipend equal to UKRI rates and cover UK resident tuition fees.

International applicants are eligible to apply but they would have to demonstrate they have funding to cover the difference between UK and International tuition fees, that difference is approximately £14,800 per year at present.

Criteria

Essential

  • A 1st class or upper second class BSc degree in a relevant science subject (or expected to achieve this, for applicants who are in their final undergraduate year).
  • Able to carry out active fieldwork in remote locations. 

Desirable

  • An appropriate Masters level qualification or equivalent experience
  • Experience or enthusiasm for working with a range of professionals in a multidisciplinary team
  • Possession of a valid driving licence.

How to apply

Please apply by sending a CV (including contact details of two academic referees) and cover letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the PhD), to Emma Revill (ecrix@essex.ac.uk).

The deadline for applications is 4:00pm on Friday 27th January 2023.

If you have any questions please contact the lead supervisor, Professor Graham Underwood (gjcu@essex.ac.uk).