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Our Place Our Future: Developing and testing an integrated climate risk framework for heritage sites in Scotland.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 09, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Climate change is not only threatening our future but destroying our past. Working with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) this project will examine the impacts to heritage sites in Scotland under future extreme climate risk scenarios.

Full project description available:

This project will work in partnership with HES to develop heritage impact models for two heritage sites in Scotland. The research will focus on two field sites, one rural and one urban heritage site, selected by HES based on their current Climate Change Risk Assessment outcomes. A key deliverable from the project will be a GIS based method that enables rapid modelling of the ‘heritage climate risk-scape’ of in both a rural and an urban context under current and future extreme hazard scenarios.

This research will contribute towards the development and application of national scale integrated climate risk framework for HES. Through HES’s national responsibilities for the wider historic environment, the outputs of the research will be used to contribute towards wider policy development and related programmes.

Research questions will include:
-- Do existing risk modelling tools or platforms incorporate cultural heritage indicators for integrated climate risk mapping?
-- What is the exposure of Scotland’s urban and rural heritage sites under future climate projections?
-- How do the physical and cultural characteristics of Scotland’s heritage sites influence impact modelling for climate change?
-- Can participatory GIS risk modelling techniques provide an effective approach for developing and testing cultural heritage risk modelling?

Training opportunities:
A comprehensive training programme will be provided comprising both specialist scientific training and generic transferable and professional skills. The student will have the opportunity to work within the HES Climate Change Team and take part in wider team activities as appropriate to give additional experience of cultural asset management including climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. As well as, taking part in the HES Graduate Scheme Summer School and specific sector based HES trainings.

-- MSc in Earth Sciences/Environmental Sciences/GeoSciences including Human or Physical Geography
-- Experience and/or desire to use participatory methods working directly with stakeholders including communities in Scotland
-- Knowledge of climate change data, risk and adaptation
-- Knowledge of heritage and culture
-- Experience using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Funding Notes

The application procedure is described on: View Website

Eligibility: RCUK eligibility rules apply (RCUK Terms and Conditions of Training Grants)
a. Eligible for a full funding: UK/EU citizens or settled overseas students only, who have worked and/or studied in the UK for at least three years before the programme starts.
b. Eligible for fees-only: UK/EU citizens who do not comply with the 3-year UK residency criteria.
c. Non Eligible: Overseas students who are currently on a Tier 4 Visa or would need a Visa to come to the UK.


Historic Environment Scotland (2017) A Climate Change Risk Assessment of the properties in care of Historic Environment Scotland. Available at

Day JC, Heron SF, Markham A, Downes J, Gibson J, Hyslop E, Jones RH, Lyall A (2019) Climate Risk Assessment for Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage property: An application of the Climate Vulnerability Index. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh, Available at

Kruger., F et al. (2015) Cultures and Disasters: Understanding cultural framings in disaster risk reduction, Routledge.

Wang, J-J., Flood risk maps to cultural heritage: Measures and process, Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol 16, Issue 2, pp-21-220

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