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CDT-SIS-423: Multi-time-scale modelling framework for long-term prediction of coastal environments.

Project Description

The ability to promptly produce accurate long-term predictions of coastal response to varying natural conditions is of paramount importance. This is particularly true within the context of adaptation of coastal communities to sea level rise and other effects of climate change. However, there is usually a trade-off between model accuracy, complexity and length of prediction. Models capturing more of the physics involved tend to be more accurate and informative than their ‘simpler’ counterparts that parametrise complex phenomena, but less practical for long-term predictions. Conversely, parametric models are faster and more stable for long-term simulations, but their reliability depends on empirical expressions which are frequently tuned for specific sites and conditions.

This PhD project will aim at the development of a framework where different types of models (varying in their temporal scales and fidelity) can mutually interact and feed each other. This will translate into a general prediction tool capable of delivering accurate and fast, long-term predictions of any coastal environment while minimising input data requirements and/or number of assumptions. This novel and versatile tool will enable coastal managers and engineers to test a large number of proposed adaptation strategies. This will be achieved by means of a careful balance between computational time and model accuracy.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant and very strong department in Civil Engineering, and will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, including diverse flumes and Iridis4 supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the UK. The aspirant must have at least a 2:1 degree, or equivalent, in Engineering, Physics or related discipline. Strong skills in scientific programming are essential; knowledge of coastal engineering, numerical modelling and general fluid mechanics is advantageous. Enthusiasm for research, ability to think and work independently and excellent analytical skills are critical requirements.

Funding covers tuition fees at UK/EU rates and a maintenance stipend of approximately £14.5k per year. Applications from overseas students are welcome, but the applicant must be able to cover the difference between UK/EU and Overseas tuition fees (~£17k p.a.).

Start date is September 2018.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Sergio Maldonado, Water and Environmental Engineering research group, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2662.

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems ( For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see

How good is research at University of Southampton in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.23

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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