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Repurposing military heritage in southern England: Constructing a holistic sustainable regeneration framework to reclaim an exceptional and challenging legacy


   School of Civil Engineering and Surveying


About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.. 

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, and will be supervised by Dr Ann Coats, Stephen Neale and Belinda Mitchell.

The work on this project will involve constructing a holistic sustainable regeneration framework to repurpose military heritage in southern England through four stages:

• Formulating the positive attributes of repurposing exceptional military heritage from existing case study literature. 

• Conceptualising a creative framework to repurpose exceptional military heritage for optimal regeneration outcomes. 

• Piloting an innovative framework to repurpose exceptional military heritage optimally by investigating an original case study utilising social value and social capital. 

• Evaluating a pilot case study to construct a framework for repurposing military heritage in southern England to benefit governmental and community stakeholders.

Project description

This project will construct a holistic sustainable regeneration framework to repurpose military heritage in southern England and promote innovative proposals which maximise its social, environmental and economic potential. 

Such research is vital because government prioritisation of residential development in brownfield sites threatens the environmental, social and economic sustainability of distinctive historic structures which give unique neighbourhood character. Communities objecting to characterless new-builds in enabling developments can delay planning applications for decades.

Such an interdisciplinary project will deepen the professional insight of successful applicants and lead to prestigious careers. Students will select their case study with supervisor guidance and gain invaluable openings through the supervisors’ practised commitment to the heritage sector, learning on actual projects, and evolving their own networks and practice. Methodology and data collection will be honed through site visits, interviews with stakeholders, community workshops and focus groups.

This timely opportunity will shape unique Faculty of Technology research strategies for the heritage property sector over the next 5 years, extending SCES5311021 to break MoD disposal blockages.

Portsmouth is the optimal University for such research, due to its location, Civic University identity, focus on innovation, and supervisor practice and networks. 

Dr Ann Coats, with twenty years of engaging with UK military heritage, has overturned inappropriate enabling developments at Sheerness Dockyard, improved Portsmouth Naval Base at-risk buildings and established a network of military practitioners and case studies.

Stephen Neale, Senior Lecturer and Chartered Building Surveyor, was a project-manager on the RMC International Headquarters development, later owned by Cemex. It merged new and historic buildings innovatively, becoming Grade II* listed in 2014.

Belinda Mitchell has been engaging for thirty years with the adaptive reuse of existing buildings. Current research integrates art practice with Historic Building Conservation: embodied engagement supports democratic and ecological ways to make sustainable places and spaces within living communities.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

Preferred candidates would be able to demonstrate theoretical and/or practical knowledge/experience across a number of disciplines including, but not necessarily limited to, town planning, public policy, architectural and heritage conservation.

How to Apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Ann Coats () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Civil Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SCES5581023.


Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).

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