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Ecological impactsof Nature-Based-Solutions for flood-risk management from catchment to coast


   School of Life Sciences

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  Prof G J C Underwood, Dr T Cameron  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This fully funded Ph.D. studentship will evaluate the impact of natural flood risk management (NFM), and related nature-based solutions, on catchment ecosystem functions including co-benefits for ecosystem services (biodiversity, carbon sequestration, flood defence). The primary focus will be on small river systems, catchments, coastal habitats (salt marsh and intertidal flats), in south Essex. This research will be addressed through a combination of field monitoring, experimental manipulation, and working with a team, including Industry, Government Agencies, and non-government organsations working together to deliver the wider Catchment to Coast project (see below). The outcomes will contribute towards determining the most effective NFM strategies for reducing lowland flood risk while maximising ecological benefits. 

The University of Essex is a partner in the U.K. Environment Agency Innovative Resilience Fund (IRF) Project Catchment to Coast which aims to reduce surface water and coastal flooding to communities in Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea. This will be achieved by piloting natural flood management (NFM) techniques, including nature-based solutions (NBS), changing agricultural practices to reduce pollution and trialing different approaches to establish saltmarshes in the Thames estuary. Your studentship will be fully integrated into this exciting partnership. 

The high level aims of all the projects in the Environment Agency IRF programme are to support the development of a broad range of resilience actions to better protect and prepare against flooding and coastal change, to use nature based solutions to store or slow the flow of flood waters, make  better land use and development choices, whilst all the time adapting to climate change.

The Ph.D. scholarship is fully funded (UK Home fees and maintenance at standard UKRI rates) for a four year programme, starting October 2023. The student will be supervised by Professor Graham Underwood and Dr Tom Cameron (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex), within a wider supervisory team from the Catchment to Coast project. This is one of a pair of PhD studentships (one at University of Essex focussed on ecological responses, one at Kings College, London with a focus on hydrology and modelling) within the Catchment to Coast project.  

The student will receive training in appropriate field and experimental techniques, and work closely with modellers, engineers, local authority officers, consultants and external partners throughout the period of research. Time may be spent based in partner organisations. The successful student will be associated with the NERC ARIES DTP, and take part in cohort training within that framework. 

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting to receive a 1st class or upper second class B.Sc. degree in a relevant science subject, and / or an appropriate Masters level qualification or equivelent experience. The successful candidate will need to be able to carry out active fieldwork in remote locations. Experience or enthusiasm for working with a range of professionals in a multidisciplinary team, and possession of a valid driving licensce are desirable.

For informal enquiries, contact. Professor Graham Underwood

[Email Address Removed]

To apply please email a covering letter and CV to [Email Address Removed]


Funding Notes

The studentship will provide the PhD candidate with a costs of living stipend equal to UKRI rates and cover UK resident tuition fees. International applicants are eligible to apply but will have to demonstrate funding to cover the difference between UK and International tuition fees, which is approximately £14,800 p.a. at present.

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