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Doctoral Studentship: Understanding Multi-Hazards in Urban Africa

   Department of Geography

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  Prof Bruce Malamud  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Anticipated start date: January 2016

Closing date for applications: Monday 9 November 2015

This 3.5 year (full time) fully funded research studentship funded through King’s College London and based at the Department of Geography ( will be supervised by Prof Bruce D. Malamud and Dr James Millington, experts in natural hazards, spatial analyses, and quantitative methods. The research project will be aligned with the recently initiated Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK) programme of research funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) ( Urban ARK will work in cities in Senegal, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya and Niger and aims to break the cycles by which vulnerability and the incapacity to cope with hazards accrue in society. Preference for the studentship will be given to an applicant from one of the Urban ARK study countries.

Understanding the characteristics of individual environmental hazards and their interactions (e.g., landslides triggering floods, wildfires increasing the probability of landslides) is important to develop risk-reduction strategies, particularly in many developing-world regions. The studentship-holder will undertake research based initially on the compilation and analysis of a historical and spatial database of hazards and multi-hazard interactions in selected urban regions of sub-Saharan Africa to improve understanding of the nature and scale of disaster risks in these environments. The database developed initially, and which research will be based upon, will bring together information from archives and other primary and secondary sources to enable visualisation and investigation of how past hazard events have impacted urban areas and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Then, in discussion with the two supervisors, further research questions that build on this database will be used to explore environmental multi-hazard interactions, in those regions associated with the Urban ARK study areas.

Applicant Skills and Eligibility

The research is cross-disciplinary and the successful candidate will have the following: (i) a background in the quantitative environmental and/or social sciences; (ii) a Master’s degree, or equivalent experience, in a relevant subject at or above merit level (or equivalent); (iii) experience analysing a range of data types (quantitative, qualitative) from a variety of sources (e.g., internet archives, interviews, questionnaires, and/or environmental sensors); (iv) competence working with software tools to manage and visualise digital data. In addition, the ideal candidate will have the following: (i) experience using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), (ii) an interest in hazards and risk in urban areas. As mentioned above, preference will be given to an applicant from one of the Urban ARK study countries (Senegal, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Niger).
The student will be expected to reside in one of the Urban ARK study regions, travelling to other study regions when necessary and to King’s College London for regular advisory and research group meetings. The successful candidate will enrol at King’s College in accordance with standard postgraduate (research) entry procedures (e.g., English language requirements) [see].


For further information on the studentship please contact Professor Bruce Malamud ([Email Address Removed]) or Dr James Millington ([Email Address Removed]).

How to apply

Students interested in applying for this project should send in (i) a CV (including specific competencies with respect to applicant skills, and two named academic referees), (ii) a covering letter (maximum 2000 words) explaining their interest and suitability in the project, including a brief outline of what research they envisage doing related to multi-hazard interactions in Urban ARK. Applicants may also include a sample of their written work (in English).
Applications should be sent to Fiona Smith by email at [Email Address Removed] by Monday 9 November 2015 with a cc to [Email Address Removed] and [Email Address Removed]. Interviews will take place on Monday 16 November 2015 via video conference or at King’s College London, Strand Campus.

Funding Notes


Fees (either UK/EU or Overseas)
Maintenance allowance: £14,057+£2,000 London weighting/year = £16,057/year
Access to £4500 fieldwork support and research training over 3.5 years

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