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Leverhulme TRANSFORM PhD Studentship: Data, Community and Reconfiguring the Post-pandemic City

Global Sustainable Development and Liberal Arts

Warwick United Kingdom Built Environment Climate Science

About the Project

This studentship is supported by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship programme TRANSFORM: Transformations of Human-Environment Interactions to Sustainable Development. TRANSFORM provides a new doctoral research training pathway for sustainability science at Warwick, offering PhD scholarships to train a new generation of transdisciplinary leaders who are able to address current and future sustainability challenges.

You will be trained in transdisciplinary methods, enabling you to draw on skills from multiples disciplines and work effectively and equitably with non-academic partners to deliver impactful sustainable development research. Scholarship holders will also benefit from tailored skills training, masterclasses and a vibrant research community.


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many questions being asked about the changing nature of cities in both the global north and south, linked to decentralisation and reduced density that, if implemented, will impact their future shape and functioning as well as their resilience to respond effectively to further shock and stresses. In particular, discussions about the changing design of cities e.g. 15/20minute city, have called for enhanced pedestrianisation, less cars, more green spaces, and a refocusing on the neighbourhood scale. More fundamentally, and in-line with SDG 11 - to ‘Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ - the ongoing global pandemic has forced a range of policy makers and built environment professionals to consider how ideas of sustainability and resilience link to public health as they rethink conventional urban planning and design approaches. At an abstract level this means considering whether cities return to normal, or work towards a new normality. In more practical terms, it means adopting principles of resilience as a key element of recovery and future planning in attempts to build back better: to more effectively understand risks from formal and informal data sources, to consider interdependences in human-environment interactions across different urban systems, and to address inherent inequalities through active local community engagement and dialogue.

Working within established research partnerships in IGSD and UN Habitat, this study will be on comparative research in selected cities in both the global north and south, and will seek to unpack questions about the emerging discourses and digital geographies that are framing the future post-pandemic city, which stakeholders and community groups are engaged in such discussions, and how citizen-centric risk and vulnerability analysis, and risk management more broadly, are incorporated into future city plans. The successful applicants’ interests, experience and expertise will also shape the final study design.


Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree and ideally a Master’s degree (or equivalent professional experience) in city planning and design, urban/human/digital geography and disaster studies, or a cognate field. Applicants should show evidence of experience or aptitude to work across a number of disciplines and in a range of qualitative and qualitative methods (e.g. geospatial data analysis).

How to Apply

For full details and application form, please see here:

Funding Notes

Annual stipend will be £15,609pa, for 4 years rising each year in line with UKRI rate. Tuition fees will be paid at the home rate but a waiver for the difference between home and overseas fees may be awarded to an exceptional overseas candidate.

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