PhD: Sponge cities for climate resilience and healthy urban living

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow, UK 🇬🇧



Please select SCEBE/23Stu/Ollauri


Hydro-meteorological risks associated with climate change are exacerbated by urban growth. Traditional engineering approaches are expensive, slow to be mobilised and are increasingly not favoured by citizens and professionals. Besides, these are too narrowly focused on the ‘engineering challenge’ and do not allow co-benefits to accrue to cities and communities. In the face of rapid urbanisation and climate change, there is a need to both address the ‘engineering challenge’ as well as the wider societal challenges of ‘healthy living’ and biodiversity loss, even as we face up to climate change. Early efforts to tackle this multi-faceted problem are already underway across the GCU (such as shallow landslide prevention, heat and flood mitigation, promotion of active lifestyles and healthy living, promotion of health and health equity through Green and Blue Infrastructure across SCEBE and SHLS)

This project will devise innovative, vegetation-based, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to gain new insights into SuDS performance against urban flooding, water pollution, the heat island effect while contributing to greater biodiversity, promote an active lifestyle, and reduce health inequities. The outcomes of the proposed study are well aligned to the ‘mission-oriented research’ priorities of GCU (MORE@GCU) and Scotland more widely. It will set the basis for a wiser use of ‘Scotland’s natural resources to promote sustainable economic activity’ through the creation of green job opportunities

Building on the work by the BEAM Research Centre ( and health equity work at the SHLS ( the project outcomes will support the uptake of NbS able to provide co-benefits and ecosystem services to human communities, such as cleaner air, water regulation and treatment, urban heat amelioration, recreational opportunities, habitat provision to wildlife, cultural values, etc.

Candidates must include an outline of their ideas for exploring NbS/biodiversity/health linkages, drawing on relevant literature (via the ‘research proposal’ section of the application form; maximum of 750 words excluding references.


Name: Alejandro Ollauri


GCU Research Online URL:


This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2023.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying.

Please note that emails to the supervisory team or enquires submitted via this project advert do not constitute formal applications; applicants should apply using the Application Process page, choosing October 2023 Start.

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within six weeks from the closing date. 

Please send general enquires regarding your application to:

Funding Notes

The GCU studentship is worth at least £22,548 per year for three years. The studentship covers payment of tuition fees (£4,880 for Home/RUK students or £16,800 for EU/International students) plus an annual stipend of £17,668 for Home/RUK students or an annual scholarship of £6,548 for EU/International students.
EU/International candidates of outstanding calibre may be awarded a studentship of £34,468 per year for three years. The International Enhanced Scholarship covers payment of tuition fees (£16,800) plus an annual stipend of £17,668.
For further details please see our Fees and Funding and Research Scholarships and Studentships webpages.


For queries, please contact:
Name: Alejandro Ollauri
Please note that emails to the supervisory team or enquires submitted via this project advert do not constitute formal applications; applicants should apply using the Application Process page, choosing October 2023 Start.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development