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Hydrological Extreme Risks and Management in sub-Saharan Africa: bridging the gap between historical data and future climate scenarios

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Start date: May 2020

Wanted - exceptional doctoral candidates to undertake trailblazing, transformative research alongside outstanding early-career researchers.

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

This doctoral (PhD) project has been devised and developed by a leading early-career researcher at Coventry University. The Trailblazer Scheme provides doctoral researchers with an innovative and dynamic intellectual space in which to undertake transformative research, whilst fully supported by a team of experienced supervisors.

Details of the PhD project:

Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced important changes in seasonal rainfall distributions, extreme events and hydrological regimes over the last 20 years, which have a major impact on communities. As anthropogenic climate change increasingly manifests, the prospect of shifts in water resources and variability, underscores the need for better understanding of the drivers of hydrological variability (rainfall-land-runoff interactions), especially extreme events, and their predictability to improving the risk management system at short- and long-term.

This project first proposes to characterize the drivers of variability in hydrological extremes (flood and drought) in West and southern Africa using historical records, and to analyse how those conditions could have been better managed based on participatory analysis with communities and numerical modelling. Secondly, this project proposes to evaluate how state-of-the-art regional climate models perform in reproducing climate conditions associated with hydrological extremes, before to quantify how probable those conditions are likely to be in the future.

By bridging the gap between historical data and future projections, this project ultimately aims at providing data on hydrological risks in sub-Saharan Africa, and at facilitating the communication with the application community in translating scientific knowledge into manageable risk management tools.


Academic Environment - Coventry University has been the UK’s top modern university for seven consecutive years (Guardian University Guide 2013-2019) and holds a number of other prestigious accolades. Established in 2014 through substantial university investment, the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR) is rapidly building a global reputation for transdisciplinary research into processes of resilience in social-ecological systems. Among its key lines of research is work focusing on modelling of water and food systems, aided by high performance computing facilities.

Training and Development - The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills. All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification:

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average PLUS the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

Additional items for candidate specification:

Essential -

• Masters degree in a science-based subject area (Hydrological and/or climate sciences).
• Knowledge of West and/or southern African hydrology
• Knowledge of climate change and variability.
• Capacity for critical and independent thinking.

Desirable -

• Experience of hydrological and/or climate modelling
• Experience of working with climate model output.
• Experience of scientific programming.
• Experience of working with large data sets.
• Willingness to engage with the wider CAWR research community.

How to apply:

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Bastien Dieppois ().

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Funding Notes

Full studentship which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years.

Stipend rates set by UKRI with an annual projected average increase of 1.25% per year.

Basic research costs (e.g. equipment) are covered by Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience. The successful candidate will receive an additional allowance of £500 per annum for professional expenses.

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