Our climate is changing. In the UK, winters are getting warmer, summers are experiencing higher temperatures, and extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall or heatwaves are increasing in frequency and magnitude. Nature-based Solutions offer a means to improve the climate resilience of urban areas. For example, trees intercept rainfall and can slow or prevent the flow of rain water to drainage systems. Trees provide shade and can cool local areas by evapotranspiration. However, in order to implement Nature-based Solutions for climate resilience, the care and long-term maintenance of trees and other types of green infrastructure must be embedded within local authority operations and long-term strategic planning.
This PhD research is based in Birmingham, UK, and will work with the Met Office and Birmingham City Council to:
(i) to quantify the benefit of Nature-based Solutions for ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, thermal regulation, and rainfall interception; and,
(ii) understand the current and future risks associated with Nature-based Solutions (e.g. pests and diseases, wildfires)
(iii) understand how green infrastructure can be effectively embedded within the local authority maintenance and planning processes to maximise its provision as a Nature-based Solution.
The scope of this PhD topic area is broad, and we welcome your ideas on how to deliver PhD research within the field of environmental engineering. The PhD research that you propose should build on current Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) approaches within Birmingham (Greenham et al, 2023 http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/4259/) and align with Birmingham's Urban Forestry Master Plan (https://birminghamtreepeople.org.uk/home/about-us/the-urban-forest-master-plan/). Applicants should demonstrate a background in either urban planning, civil engineering, arboriculture, or climate adaptation, and a vision to develop one or more of these subject areas throughout the PhD. GIS skills are desirable but can be learnt. The student will be based in the School of Engineering, and will be affiliated with Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). We welcome applications from diverse educational backgrounds and work experiences.
Please submit your proposal for a PhD in this topic area, that addresses the research objectives outlined above.
Please note there is a UK "home-fees" PhD scholarship available for this project. "Overseas" applicants must be able to self-fund, or provide proof of scholarship. Due to the popularity of the topic, unfortunately we can only respond to candidates who are eligible for home fees or can demonstrate a funding source.
Applicants should submit their proposal to the Department of Civil Engineering PhD Research: https://sits.bham.ac.uk/lpages/EPS015.htm