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PhD studentship in Urban Ecohydrology

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, December 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Despite the rapid urbanization of our planet and the significance of cities in human societies, our ability to sustainably design urban systems is limited. Cities are hot spots for innovation and social interactions, but they also drive land cover changes, resource consumption and a loss of ecosystem services at multiple scales. Urban vegetation can provide numerous benefits (e.g., reduce pollution, increase biodiversity, increase cooling, carbon sequestration), improve the wellbeing of city dwellers, and enhance the resilience to climate fluctuations by re-coupling urban areas to their local biosphere. However, existing efforts aimed at greening cities (tree planting, parks, green buildings, urban agriculture, etc) are often guided by aesthetic, conceptual, and qualitative principles rather than a quantitative understanding of the underlining biophysical processes, scales and feedbacks. The Urban Ecohydrology Lab at UCL aims to combine concepts of hydrology, ecology, meteorology, urban planning, public health and complexity science to better understand the interactions between human and natural systems and guide the design of greener, more sustainable and inclusive cities. The Lab’s main research themes focus on modelling and monitoring (i) soil-plant-atmosphere processes in natural and urban environments; (ii) urban-biosphere interactions across scales; (iii) urban green spaces, climate, and health; and (iv) coupled socio-ecological dynamics.

We are looking for a highly motivated student to join the Urban Ecohydrology Lab and carry out interdisciplinary research on the interactions between cities, nature and society, from local to global scales. The goal is to quantify how urban characteristics and the amount, type and spatial arrangement of urban green spaces affect urban climate and hydrology as well as the mental and physical health of city dwellers. This will be achieved by combining data analysis with advanced mathematical approaches (numerical and analytical models).We are looking for a candidate that will carry out research in the field of urban ecohydrology, land-atmosphere
interactions and/or coupled socio-ecological dynamics in urban environments. The candidate should have a MSc degree preferably in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Physics, Earth Science or a related field. A good knowledge of Hydrology, Ecology and Atmospheric Sciences or at least one of those subjects is required. The project will involve data analysis (e.g., big data, remote sensing) and mathematical modelling (e.g., differential equations, numerical simulations). Hence, quantitative and modelling skills, including programming skills (e.g., Matlab, R) are an asset for the position. Previous experiences in international context or periods of study abroad are also positively evaluated. We encourage applications from enthusiastic, dedicated individuals with excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

Funding Notes

3 year Departmental Studentship covering UCL Home/ EU Full Time Fees and an annual Tax Free stipend paid pro-rata annually between September - September. The annual stipend for the 2019-20 academic year is £17,009, therefore January starters would be paid for the January - September period in the first instance.


Open to UK or EU students holding a Masters degree (MSc) in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Physics,
Earth Science or a related field.

Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to Dr. Gabriele Manoli ([email protected]). Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (video-Skype call). The successful applicant will then have to apply online to UCL by submitting a PhD application form by clicking on the Apply now button at the bottom of this page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/research-degrees/civil-environmental-geomatic-engineering-mphil-phd. Please name Dr. Gabriele Manoli as the proposed supervisor.

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