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Civil Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC DTP and JBA Trust PhD Scholarship: Artificial Intelligence-assisted decadal scale beach change forecasting

   School of Aerospace, Civil, Electrical, General And Mechanical Engineering

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  Prof H. K Karunarathna  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Funding providers: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) DTP and JBA Trust

Subject areas: Coastal Engineering, Artificial Intelligence

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2022 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project supervisors: 

  • Professor Harshinie Karunarathna (Swansea University)
  • Dr Alma Rahat (Swansea University)
  • Dr Doug Pender (JBA Consulting)

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Civil Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

Annual UK cost of flood and coastal erosion damage is estimated at £540 million. Sea level rise and extreme weathers associated with climate change rapidly increases coastal erosion and flooding, and economic impacts. The UK Government’s Resilient Nation prosperity outcome recognises the need to implement climate-adaptive, safe, and sustainable coastal management, focusing on natural processes. Planning and implementation of sustainable adaptation requires new, efficient tools to predict decadal-scale coastal change. The uncertainty that is inherent in coastal behaviour means that these must be built on advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allow efficient and robust testing against multiple scenarios. This project will make a major contribution to tackle this challenge and, aims to train and validate an efficient AI tool to emulate time-dependent, decadal-scale coastal morphodynamic change by adopting a sequential learning AI emulation framework. A well-validated high-fidelity process-based coastal computational model will provide synthetic beach change data for training and validation of the AI emulator and address the widely accepted data-scarcity issue. The emulator will be a powerful surrogate to computationally costly conventional modelling approaches for predicting decadal-scale beach change at local and global scale, and a tool to discover nature-based, climate-resistant coastal management interventions.

Facilities: The student will become a part of a very dynamic coastal engineering research community who combines coastal engineering with numerous other disciplines to understand coastal change and develop methologies to investigate and forecast coastal change and flood risk. They will have access to a world leading High Performance Computing cluster and a state-of-the-art coastal engineering laboratory experimental facility. This PhD project is funded by an EPSRC DTP CASE Conversion scholarship in collaboration with the JBA Trust. The student will have the opportunity to spend at least 03 months at JBA Consulting, a leading engineering company in the UK.


Candidates must normally hold an MEng in Civil/Coastal Engineering at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) or similar relevant science discipline such as MSc in Marine Science or MSc in Coastal Engineering or Oceanography with Merit.

Please note desirable skills include basic knowledge on coastal hydro- and morphodynamics, numerical modelling, statistical methods and willingness to learn numerical coastal modelling using open source coastal modelling software and Artificial Intelligence.

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5+ in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £16,062.
Additional research expenses will also be available.
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