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PhD Studentship: Challenging RISK: Achieving Resilience by Integrating Societal and Technical Knowledge


   Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering

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  Prof M Haklay  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Ref 1423895

Duration – 3 years

Vacancy Information
The EPSRC funded project “Challenging RISK: Achieving Resilience by Integrating Societal and Technical Knowledge” (http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/K022377/1) focusses on aspects of earthquake, fire hazards and community engagement. Within this project we have an opportunity for a suitable candidate to be funded for a PhD studentship. The studentship will be supervised by Professor Mordechai (Muki) Haklay (with further support and guidance from Patrick Rickles) and will start in the autumn of 2014, within UCL’s Extreme Citizen Science group (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/excites).

The project is concerned with socially integrated mitigation of multiple structural risks in the urban environment, with a focus on the linked risks of earthquake and fire, and will develop not only new technical engineering solutions to these problems, but also account for the social context within which they are to be enacted. This multi-hazard risk mitigation approach hopes to create a holistic solution through interactions with communities, local authorities and construction industries, increasing the uptake of structural and non-structural mitigation measures, resulting in reduced life and economic losses. This is a multi-disciplinary project in which we are integrating expertise from Fire Engineering, Earthquake Engineering, Structural Engineering, Psychology, Geographic Information Science and Citizen Science.

Studentship Description
Of the various areas of expertise, this studentship will be within that of Geographic Information Science and Citizen Science (with the focus on Citizen Science). The student will be expected to take part in the following:
• Carry out fieldwork at sites of interest (Seattle, United States and Izmir, Turkey) to hold workshops with local communities, engage with them to find out about disaster preparedness plans (if members of the community have any) and follow up with the communities to find out if any plans had been made/improved up on after the initial workshop.
• During and after the workshops, liaise with and encourage community members to use (bespoke) technology to collect and review information for analyses, not only by researchers on the project, but with the community members themselves. This will involve having to convey technically complex, or discipline specific, information in an understandable way to all parties involved.
• The student will work with researchers from the other areas of expertise and will be expected to help out with any interdisciplinary analyses requested; this may involve becoming acquainted with methodologies and frameworks outside of the student’s discipline, to ensure work undertaken meets the specifications of the other researchers.
• It may be necessary for the student to compile and help with (basic) processing of geographic information.
• As the student will be part of a larger research unit (the Extreme Citizen Science research group (ExCiteS) [http://www.ucl.ac.uk/excites]), they will be expected to engage with others in the group and attend fortnightly meetings to better expand their understandings of interdisciplinary research, citizen science and foster collaborations which may lead back into and enrich “Challenging RISK”.

Person Specification
The candidate must have a first or upper second class degree at undergraduate level and at least a Merit (2.1) in a Master's degree, a relevant professional diploma or equivalent experience. It is highly desirable if the candidate has a combination, between their Undergraduate and Master degrees, diploma or experience, of some of the following disciplines: Engineering Science, Psychology, Communications, Anthropology, Human Geography and Information Science. Knowledge of GIS and geographical analysis would be advantageous, as well as experience in participatory research methods, such as participatory GIS or citizen science.

The role will require intensive engagement with local communities during field studies, and therefore the candidate should be willing to travel for long periods and also work with a range of participants from all walks of life.

Start Date
The post will be available from September 2014

Application Procedure
Applicants should send a covering letter, CV and a personal statement of up to 2 pages, stating their interest in the project and outline a project that involves citizen science with the issues that are at the core of Challenging Risk before the closing date below to [Email Address Removed] (for Prof. Muki Haklay’s attention)

The successful applicant will then have to apply online to UCL by submitting the PhD application form, available from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-study/application-admission/apply-online/, entering Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering as the department and naming Professor Muki Haklay as the proposed supervisor.

Closing Date: 31 July 2014

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from UK nationals, other EU nationals, and UK permanent residents. Applicants must meet UCL’s UK/EU fee classification rules, summarised here at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/fees-funding/tuition-fees

The scholarship covers UCL registration fees and provides a stipend of £15,726 per annum tax free. Travel expenses and research equipment will also be paid for.

Funding body: UCL