Nature-based solutions for coastal protection and hazard mitigation

   School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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  Dr S B Mickovski, Dr A Ollauri  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Project Reference Number

Project Reference Number: SCEBE-22SF-NBSCPHM-Mickovski

Please select the above project reference number or refer to this reference number if you select the prospective student application route.


Rising sea levels as a result of climate change are causing substantial damage to Scottish coastlines and the pace of erosion is increasing. Plans to manage coastal change are urgently needed before it is too late. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) such as vegetated dunes and shorelines, cobble berms, or shellfish reefs, constitute green infrastructure that could protect more than simple seawalls. However, co-design and co-deployment of NbS against coastal erosion is needed as part of community-based projects in which the green infrastructure is built, monitored, and maintained by the lay stakeholders using local resources. Yet, studies on the public perception, strategic implementation, and engineering effectiveness of coastal NbS are severely lacking.


The aims of the project are to:

•            Investigate the public perception of NbS against coastal erosion

•            Explore the engineering effectiveness of various coastal NbS

•            Develop simple indicators to monitor the performance of coastal NbS

•            Design pragmatic and reproducible strategies permitting the implementation of community-based, NbS against coastal erosion

•            Disseminate the project outcomes to relevant stakeholders


The successful applicant will be able to demonstrate understanding of ecosystems functioning. Expertise undertaking field and laboratory work is required. A good grasp of statistical methods and tools, such as R, is preferable. Effective oral and written communication skills are mandatory. Awareness of stakeholder engagement and of community-based approaches is desirable. The project will involve the combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Candidates are invited to submit a more detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application. 

Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project –e.g. environmental science, marine science, ecology, geophysics, physical geography, environmental engineering, hydrodynamics, etc. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required.

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme. 

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

Please note that emails to the supervisory team or enquires submitted via this project advert do not constitute formal applications; applicants should apply using our Application Process page, choosing Civil Engineering or Built Environment and their preferred intake date.  

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: [Email Address Removed]


Architecture, Building & Planning (3)

Funding Notes

Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts.
See more on fees and funding.


For further information, please contact the team below. Please note, an email contact is considered an informal contact and not a formal application. To be considered, you would need to apply formally.
Director of Studies
Name: Prof. Slobodan B. Mickovski
GCU Research Online URL:
2nd Supervisor
Name: Dr Aljandro Gonzalez-Ollauri
GCU Research Online URL:
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