PhD: Working with natural processes to adapt to climate change and to reduce flood risk via FindAPhD

Loughborough University

Loughborough, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

About the Project

Start date: October 1st 2021

Interview date: Week beginning February 15th 2021

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College.

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The Earth’s climate is changing, altering the seasonal regime of water flow in rivers and the frequency and magnitude of extreme events. As rivers flow, they transport sediment from the hillslopes to the coast but the processes, interactions and feedbacks that drive this pattern are complex, with specific locations experiencing heightened levels of erosion or aggradation. Such behaviour may have been potentially induced or exacerbated by human activity that alters or limits the balance of natural geomorphic-processes at work within the river systems, leading to difficulties in predicting and managing flood risk from catchment to reach scales.

This PhD project will work with the Environment Agency to identify the underlying factors (e.g., catchment morphology, channel confinement, past and present land use) that promote geomorphic-induced changes in flood risk. The project will validate existing geospatial-data of locations where expected erosion and aggradation is occurring in UK rivers. ‘Hotspots’ will be identified, and the typology of these locations examined using a GIS-based meta-analysis. This will lead to a step-change in the understanding of the drivers of catchment wide sediment processes, and the potential impacts of climate change in delicately balanced environments. The opportunity to work directly with the Environment Agency will ensure that the results feed into contemporary river management, identifying and mitigating the risk of current and future geohazards.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Prof Stephen Rice () and Dr Edwin Baynes ().

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth Science, Environmental Science, or an appropriate Master’s degree.

To apply:

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from or here).
  2. All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “Geography and Environment”.  During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA21-LU2 when completing your online application.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2021. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum (in 2020/21) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate) and a research training support grant (RTSG) of £8,000. International students (including EU) are eligible to apply but the difference between the UK and International tuition fee cannot be covered by the Research Council grant and must therefore be met from other sources. Further guidance about eligibility is available at UKRI Terms and Conditions.