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An Exploration of the Impact of UK Austerity on Local Community Resilience to Natural Hazards

Project Description

Project reference number - GSBS-2019-103

Local government increasingly focus efforts on identifying and managing risks. A central part of this process is building resilience amongst Scottish communities to deal with local risk(s) including those from natural hazards. However, as suggested by previous studies conducted in Scotland (Asenova et al., 2014; 2015; 2016), the UK austerity measures have led to the redistribution of risk, and its mitigation, from local government to vulnerable communities, groups and individuals. Further to this is the suggestion that the redesign of welfare provision, alongside the withdrawal of and/or lack of investment in public services and communities, has lessened the capacity of communities to absorb augmented risk(s), see for example, Asenova et al., (2015).

Despite the accumulated evidence that the UK austerity measure is impacting adversely and more acutely on already disadvantaged communities and groups within the Scottish context, little is known about the impact these have on the concerted effort towards building community resilience to natural hazards in Scotland. Therefore, an area under researched in community resilience to natural hazard research is the understanding of the impact that the UK austerity measures have on the capacity of communities to build resilience to external shocks such as natural hazards.

1. To what extent has/is the UK Austerity measures impacted/impacting on local community’s ability or capabilities to build resilience (social, economic, institutional, infrastructure and community competence) to natural hazards?
2. In what ways can the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Scottish communities be better supported to enhance their resilience to natural hazard cognisant of the UK Austerity measures.

We welcome a more detailed proposal with research objectives which engages with pertinent themes to be sent as part of the application process max. 1500 words.

Supervisor Research Profiles

Director of Studies: Dr. Claire MacRae
GCU Research Online URL:

2nd Supervisor: Dr. Josephine Adekola
GCU Research Online URL:

How to apply

The project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme with an expected start date of the 1st October 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisor for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Please send any other enquiries regarding your application to

Funding Notes

Funding notes

Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts. See more of fees and funding. View Website

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