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ONE Planet DTP - Mainstreaming green infrastructure: how to better use the green belt to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies in North East England . (Ref: OP202063)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There is considerable public & policy attention around the optimal use for green belts (GB). This is polarised between those who see GB’s purpose simply as preventing urban sprawl and those who see GB as potential sites to meet housing need through careful and selective GB releases. A further dimension relates to GB as green infrastructure, stressing its potential for nature-based solutions. It is this hidden and neglected dimension that this PhD proposal is built upon. Specifically, how GB can be made more “environmentally productive” as a core component of a green infrastructure network. Here potential policy “hooks” arise from the convergence of the UK climate emergency, severe and ongoing natural capital/ biodiversity declines and health and well-being concerns. This work builds on existing NERC research undertaken by Scott on mainstreaming green infrastructure and work by Walsh on valuing green infrastructure and alternative business models for delivering green infrastructure in cities and NEENP’s work on rethinking our peri- urban spaces. This PhD will involve working primarily in North East England GB but with application across UK and globally to:-
1. Undertake a literature and policy review of green belt policy and impacts globally with particular relevance to the role of environmental innovation.
2. Undertake a policy assessment of extant and proposed green belt policies across the North East area and the impact of national/international policies and guidance.
3. Identify and prepare a natural capital assessment of the north east England green belt, drawing upon the latest approaches and providing a critique of these (currently no systematic assessment of green belt value has been undertaken in the UK)
4. Identify suitable land uses and delivery mechanisms that can help address the climate and biodiversity and health emergencies as well as deliver other ecosystem service benefits
5. Identify, secure and test 2-3 pilot areas (including benchmark data and indicators) to measure progress and, if appropriate, model a range of scenarios e.g. flood risk; woodland cover
6. Propose new green belt policies and principles to show how environmental value can be better identified, captured and delivered to help respond to climate, health and biodiversity emergencies.

Prerequisites: Essential: - Master’s Degree in Geography, Planning or Environmental Science Must be willing to integrate environmental and social science to achieve significant policy impact.
For more information, please contact

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. OP.....) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality

Funding Notes

We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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