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Economic and Socio-cultural implications of offshore wind on fishing communities

   School of Environmental Sciences

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  Dr Charlotte Hopkins, Dr Magnus Johnson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year and will continue their PhD research at University of Hull.

For more information visit www.auracdt.hull.ac.uk. Or if you have a direct question about the project, please email auracdt.hull.ac.uk and we will forward the query to the relevant supervisor. Please do not contact the project supervisors directly.

Offshore wind (OSW) energy facilities have been operating in Europe for 20 years with large scale developments now also being progressed in North America. Existing knowledge of the impact of wind energy on fisheries is mainly focused on ecological and environmental impacts. There is limited understanding of how the development of OSW is affected by consideration and interactions with fisheries. As OSW energy expands, there is also a clear knowledge gap surrounding economic and socio-cultural impacts on fishing behaviour, fishing communities and coastal economies. In the North Sea, particularly, space is becoming limited and there is a need for greater understanding of the cumulative impacts of OSW developments on different fisheries at a local and seascape scales. Assessments of the wider socio-economic impacts of planning are crucial for sustainable co-location of OSW energy and fisheries.

Part of the costs to OSW developers relate to the licensing requirements and potential mitigation and/or compensation to fisheries. Different fisheries are at different stages of interaction with OSW developments and some fisheries have received financial compensation for loss of earnings and opportunities as a result of OSW. However, the impact of the requirement for compensation on the planning, construction and operational processes and decommissioning of OSW is poorly understood. A further knowledge gap is the impact of compensation by OSW developers on fisheries, as compensation can have both positive and negative effects. For example, previous research has shown that fishers have recognised benefits gained by one group of fishers might represent a cost to another group by simply displacing the problem elsewhere. It is becoming clear that displacement of fishing activity is also leading to fishers displaced onto already fished areas and there is some evidence to suggest that compensation is leading to fishers investing in more gear and larger vessels.


To better understand the economic and socio-cultural interactions between OSW and fisheries 


  1. Identify the social and economic impacts of OSW on different fisheries
  2. Understand the perceptions of OSW developers of OSW and fisheries interactions
  3. Identify why and how compensation varies across different fisheries
  4. Identify the potential positive and negative impacts of compensation from OSW developments to fisheries 

Entry requirements

If you have received a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Environmental Sciences, Geography, Management and Business Studies or Psychology, we would like to hear from you. Experience in social science methodologies, understanding of fisheries and/or marine spatial planning would be desirable.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill.


The Aura CDT is funded by the EPSRC and NERC, allowing us to provide scholarships that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £17,668 per annum at 2022/23 rates (subject to progress).


Research Council funding for postgraduate research has residence requirements. Our Aura CDT scholarships are available to Home (UK) Students. To be considered a Home student, and therefore eligible for a full award, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education). For full eligibility information, please refer to the EPSRC website. In addition, a number of Aura CDT Scholarships will be available to International Students across the projects offered by the partner institutions.

How to apply

Applications are via the University of Hull online portal; you must download a supplementary application from the Aura CDT website, complete and submit.

For more information about the Aura CDT including links and detailed instructions on how to apply, please visit the website: https://auracdt.hull.ac.uk/how-to-apply/

Free Webinar

The University of Hull is running a webinar at 6pm on Tuesday 29 November to provide more information about the Aura CDT. The webinar will close with a Q&A giving you the opportunity to delve deeper into research opportunities, training provision and potential career paths. Book your place.


Haraldsson M, Raoux A, Riera F, et al (2020) How to model social-ecological systems? – A case study on the effects of a future offshore wind farm on the local society and ecosystem, and whether social compensation matters. Mar Policy 119:104031.
Reilly K, O’Hagan AM, Dalton G (2016) Developing benefit schemes and financial compensation measures for fishermen impacted by marine renewable energy projects. Energy Policy 97:161–170.
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