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Wildfire activity under climate change: developing an assessment approach for past, present and future risk

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, June 24, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

Wildfires constitute a major natural hazard and pose huge risk to many regions of the world. The series of large fires across the Northern Hemisphere during 2018 led to inevitable questions about how human-induced climate change may be altering the character of such events. Providing answers to these questions is a crucial step to increasing resilience to major wildfires.

Long-term projections produced by state-of-the-art climate models, even when reliable, are not always a suitable means of communicating risk. To illustrate the impacts of climate change in the present day, so-called ‘event attribution’ seeks to quantify the fingerprint of human influence on real world episodes of extreme weather, such as floods, heatwaves and droughts. However, as the link with climate change is poorly understood, wildfires have been largely ignored by attribution studies to date.

Using advanced statistical methods, state-of-the-art climate models and the latest observational datasets, this project will build a seamless, globally-applicable framework for assessing past, present and future risk in wildfire activity. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work alongside the supervisory team and a number of international partners to advance the worldwide capacity for wildfire attribution.


Academic Environment:
Coventry University has been the UK’s top modern university for seven consecutive years (Guardian University Guide 2013-2019) and holds a number of other prestigious accolades. Established in 2014 through substantial university investment, the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR) is rapidly building a global reputation for transdisciplinary research into processes of resilience in social-ecological systems. Among its key lines of research is work focusing on modelling of water and food systems, aided by high performance computing facilities.

Training and Development:
The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.
All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

Entry criteria for applicants to PHD:
• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
For further details see:

• Masters degree in a science-based subject area.
• Knowledge of climate change and climate variability.
• Capacity for critical and independent thinking.

• Experience of climate modelling and/or working with climate model output.
• Experience of scientific programming.
• Experience of working with large data sets.
• Knowledge of climate change detection and attribution.
• Willingness to engage with the wider CAWR research community.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Jonathan Eden ().
To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation and a covering letter detailing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Funding Notes

Full studentship which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years.
Stipend rates set by UKRI with an annual projected average increase of 1.25% per year.
Basic research costs (e.g. equipment) are covered by Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience. The successful candidate will receive an additional allowance of £500 per annum for professional expenses.

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