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Community-based approaches for the implementation of Nature-based solutions against coastal erosion

About This PhD Project

Project Description


Coastal erosion is a natural hazard which frequency and intensity will likely increase as a result of sea-level rise and storm surges due to climate change. The higher rates of population growth and urbanisation exhibited by coastal areas demand urgent, effective and sustainable solutions to mitigate the risks and vulnerability to which coastal communities are exposed. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) such as vegetated dunes and shorelines, cobble berms, or shellfish reefs, constitute green infrastructure that could protect more than traditional engineering solutions such as seawalls. NbS against coastal erosion could be implemented as part of community-based projects in which the green infrastructure is co-designed, built, monitored, and maintained by the lay stakeholders using local resources. Yet, studies on the public perception, strategic implementation, and engineering effectiveness of coastal NbS are severely lacking.


The aims of the project are to:
• Explore the engineering effectiveness of various coastal NbS
• Investigate the public perception of NbS against coastal erosion
• Develop simple indicators to monitor the performance of coastal NbS
• Design pragmatic and reproducible co-design and co-deployment strategies permitting the implementation of community-based, NbS against coastal erosion
• Disseminate the project outcomes to relevant stakeholders


The successful applicant will be able to demonstrate understanding of ecosystems functioning. Expertise undertaking field and laboratory work is desirable. A good grasp of statistical methods and tools, such as R, is preferable. Effective oral and written communication skills are mandatory. The project will involve the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.

Research Strategy and Research Profile

Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, We address the Goals via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. For more. This project is part of the research activity of the Research Group – Nature-based Solutions and Eco-Engineering.

How to Apply

Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please also attach to the online application, copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to: Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on How to apply and the online application form please go to

Dr Alejandro Gonzalez Ollauri (ECR)

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