PhD: Communicating marine science research and the urgent need for creative climate change responses/action

University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth, UK 🇬🇧

Funding: Funded

Project code: AD&P8030423

Department: School of Art Design and Performance

Start dates: October 2023

Closing date: 6 April 2023

Applications are invited for a funded PhD to commence in October 2023. 

The PhD will be based in the School of Art, Design and Performance and will be supervised by Dr Simone Gumtau and Professor Alex Ford, School of Biological Sciences.  

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£17,668 for 2022/23). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per annum towards consumables, conference, project or training costs. 

The work on this project will:

  • Develop ways of communicating marine research in relation to a non-expert audience.
  • Create experimental and or experiential artefacts / interactions / performances for or with audiences. 
  • Devise a programme of evaluation / user testing / audience study to determine the particular affordances and qualities of this kind of communication. This may include reflecting on the collaboration with the science partners and /or any community groups / organisation.

The oceans and other aquatic environments are places that have long inspired artistic and cultural activity. In the period of changing climate, we are also becoming aware of the threats and opportunities connected to water, and can read them as microcosms of the complex systems we are yet to understand about our planet. Therefore, we consider the research and search for new knowledge in marine environments as crucial and urgent at this time. Portsmouth as a site is a coastal town with substantial maritime history interwoven with naval and cultural heritage. At the University of Portsmouth we bring together research at our renowned Institute of Marine Sciences and the Faculty of Cultural and Creative Industries, to tackle current marine issues in an inter- and transdisciplinary way. The UN has declared 2021-30 as the ‘Ocean Decade’ to inspire the ‘science we need’, the Centre for Blue Governance at the University of Portsmouth and other organisations are calling for ‘ocean literacy’ – allowing a wider population to understand our crucial relationship with the ocean – ‘our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us’.

This programme of research will be exploring the domain knowledge of marine science through creative and arts and humanities based approaches. Applicants  will be required to identify a focus that responds to the broad title of this bursary call. 

 The successful candidate will embark on contextual and literature review and define their research questions, aims and objectives within the first year, setting out how their creative approaches can support the communication of the complex field of ocean research. They  will develop practice based research to address the research questions either with the intention to solve, to understand better, to communicate better, to subvert, intervene, or to refine. They will be required to engage with research methods training and skills development as delivered at Faculty level and by the Graduate School. They will be expected to attend relevant events and symposia and there will be some financial support to enable this. 

General admissions

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.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Simone Gumtau ( for further particulars and to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. 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.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code AD&P8030423 when applying.





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