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Regulation of water and nutrient cycles with Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in a changing environment

Project Description


Climate change and population growth are threatening the quality and resilience of the Earth’s ecosystems. On the one hand, climate change is dramatically increasing the recurrence and impact of floods throughout Europe. On the other, population growth is pushing the intensification of agriculture globally, increasing the use of fertilisers to meet food supply needs. We urgently need imaginative and sustainable approaches able to mitigate the negative impact from both flooding and agricultural intensification through regulating the water and nutrient cycles. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are integrated, ecology-based approaches that work along with nature to manage natural hazards and to make human communities resilient to environmental change. Created wetlands and soil bioengineering techniques are two examples of NBS able to sustainably regulate water and nutrient cycles while providing multiple ecosystem services to human communities. However, there is an urgent need to provide science-based evidence on the innovative design and performance of these solutions. This multidisciplinary research project aims at generating new insights into the design and performance of innovative Nature-based solutions regulating water and nutrient cycles. To this end, a combination of laboratory, field-based and modelling experiments are envisaged to test how specific NBS interventions can contribute to retain storm water runoff and river discharge while providing effective riverbank stability and water treatment for nitrogen, phosphorous and other water pollutants. The results from this research will encourage and facilitate the inclusion of NBS design within risk reduction strategies and push business exploitation through performance assessment.

The goals of the project are:
• Investigate innovative design approaches for Nature-based solutions regulating water and nutrient cycles
• Explore the engineering, ecological, and socio-economical performance of multiple NBS
• Develop simple and measurable indicators for design and monitoring the performance of NBS
• Disseminate the project outcomes to relevant stakeholders

Funding Notes

Applicants are requested to submit a more detailed proposal (2000 words max.) on the project area as part of the application. Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent), or a Master degree in a subject relevant to the research project – e.g. environmental science, ecology, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, hydrology, soil science, 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.

Related Subjects

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