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Assessing the performance of river management schemes to attenuate peak flows and enhance in-stream processes (OP2230)

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

   Monday, January 24, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Newcastle United Kingdom Ecology Fluid Mechanics Hydrogeology Hydrology Environmental Sciences Geography Physical Geography Remote Sensing Soil Science

About the Project

River processes in rural headwater catchments are becoming increasingly modified by the adoption of river restoration activities. These seek to to train the river to a desired form, or to modify fluvial processes. Reasons for these modifications are typically driven by aims of reducing downstream flood risk and to protect infrastructure, or alternatively to enhance ecosystem services locally. Over recent years, access to funding for such activities has been available through government initiatives (e.g. water environment grant), enabling works to be conducted across rural communities. Rather than being led by regulatory organisations, NGOs working with local stakeholders, and industry, are increasingly the ones designing and implementing such schemes. Despite increases in the availability of funding for capital works, funding for monitoring the short and long term effects has not kept pace. There is therefore a dearth of evidence as to the longer term costs and benefits of projects that seek to modify the current state of river systems. Working in partnership with the National Trust, you will work to quantify the impacts of a range of river management schemes that are currently underway, and have recently been completed. The focus of the work will be to assess channel readjustment following restoration activities. This will include: i) the geomorphic response of channels and sediment transport processes; ii) flow dynamics; and iii) cataloging the presence of ecological niches (e.g. biotopes). This will be achieved through the application of remote sensing approaches using uncrewed aerial systems (UASs). Techniques will include the adoption of Structure from Motion multiview stereo (SfM-MVS) to detect 3D change in topography and bathymetry; large-scale image velocimetry to quantify the direction and magnitude of flow velocities across a range of hydrological conditions; and the use of multispectral imagery to map vegetation patterns and extract descriptive indices. This project will provide you with a range of valuable skills including working with UASs which is a growth industry, expected to contribute £100bn to the UK economy by 2025. Application of these skills to quantify modifications to river systems in the UK will provide detailed knowledge of the links between river form and process.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ONE Planet DTP. Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£15,650) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, etc).
Home and International applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. Following the UKRI announcement regarding their new 30% UKRI international recruitment policy (to take effect from September 2021) both Newcastle University, and Northumbria University, have agreed to pay the international fee difference for all International applicants (inc. EU) who are awarded a DTP studentship. Interviews will take place in February 2022.
How to apply: View Website

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