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Assessing the Economic Impacts of Environmental Extremes on Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Resources in California

   Business School

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  Dr Scott McGrane  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


This PhD opportunity will address the impacts of environmental extremes on the economy of the US State of California. The research will explore how the structure of the California economy has changed in the past 20 years, and assess how alterations to the natural environment have impacted the way the economy operates. It will specifically address the impacts of drought on water, energy and food systems, seeking to determine where vulnerabilities are within the economy to climatic change.

Project details

By gaining insights into how the California economy has adapted to such conditions, we expect to find wider applicability of lessons regarding policy implementation, technological adaptation and building economic resilience for other regions which have yet to experience the worst impacts of climate change. It will do this by addressing the following questions:

  1. How has the structure and performance of the California economy changed between 2001 and 2020?
  2. By extending the California economic accounts to include environmental accounts, has the relationship between the economic activities, water-use and emissions developed over the time-period.
  3. How has the water-energy-food nexus adapted to changing environmental conditions since 2001?
  4. What are the critical vulnerabilities in the California economy to future environmental change?
  5. What are the potential system-wide impacts of future climate change events?
  6. What, if any, migration policies/strategies could be implemented and how might these minimise system-wide impacts?

The training opportunities provided during the PhD will not only allow the candidate to upskill in subject-specific skills, they will also provide them with an opportunity to acquire highly marketable and transferable skills. In addition to classes provided by Strathclyde as part of both the MRes in Research Methodology in Business and Management and the Researcher Development Programme, the student will have the benefits of access to the Global Environmental Measurement and Policy (GEMaP) community and specialist training in environmental analysis. The student will also receive specific training through the Doctoral Training Centre in Applied Economics, including in Input-Output analysis and Computable General Equilibrium modelling. 

The department has a growing population of people working in applied and environmental economics who will be able to guide the student in addition to the supervisory team, and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University opens up access to world-leading environmental researchers. 


Students should have a first-class honours degree, or a 2:1 with a relevant Masters qualification. The student should have a background in an environmental or economic subject area (e.g., geography, environmental science, economics), with an interest in assessing how environmental change can impact societies and economies. Experience of a programming language would be advantageous, but an interest in undertaking appropriate training to develop experience is required, and any identified training needs will be provided for the student

Further information

There will be opportunities via this position to spend some time at Stanford University with the primary supervisor and Stanford based supervisor. The student will join the Global Environmental Measurement and Policy (GEMaP) CDT based at the University of Strathclyde, where additional training will be provided along with the other members of the Centre.

Funding Notes

Fully-funded scholarship for three years covers all university tuition fees (at UK level) and an annual tax-free stipend. International students are also eligible to apply, but they will need to find other funding sources to cover the difference between the home and international tuition fees. Exceptional international candidates may be provided funding for this difference.
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