Predicting future compound hazards of coastal flooding (PhD Scholarship)

   ESF Logo

Predicting future compound hazards of coastal flooding


Bangor University, School of Ocean Sciences

Project ID:  BUK2E025

Annual Stipend: £14,483

Application Deadline:    1st September 2019

This scholarship aims to understand the present and future risks posed by flooding and associated poor water quality in estuaries. Coastal flooding has been ranked the second highest risk for civil emergency in the UK with flooding damage and water quality hazards responsible for at least £0.25bn annually. For communities situated near estuaries, high surge-tide combined with storm river discharge and sewage overflow are all components of a poorly understood compound hazard. Existing probabilistic methods for assessing compound hazards provide only water-level predictions with limited detail on where and when issues may occur, and how different durations/timings of events can affect the outcomes. With sea-level rise up to 1m expected this century, together with wetter winters consisting of more intense downpours and changes in catchment and wastewater management, the joint-probability of compound hazards will increase, making previous understanding of risk potentially obsolete. Targeted mitigation strategies such as tree-planting, coastal realignment and improved wastewater infrastructure may reduce future risks, but require improved understandings, including computer simulations that resolve the intensity and timings of flash floods in combination with other drivers of the hazard.

For this PhD, you will improve the pan-Wales coastal flooding model system of project sponsors Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW). DCWW have a large number of important assets in coastal regions that are vulnerable to flooding (e.g. reduced sewerage capacity, reduced outfall performance, saline intrusion), leading to further affects to upstream properties and surrounding catchments and coasts. You will be trained in a wide range of research techniques, including model development, computer programming and risk assessment. You will interrogate new high-resolution datasets (bathymetry, sewerage and river loading, UKCP18 climate projections, strategic land-use change and wastewater management) to improve model performance and understandings of compound hazards. For example, simulating different timings of peak river loads and high surge-tide to determine worst-case conditions and future change in risks, for contrasting estuary typologies. This scholarship is well-funded for attendance at international conferences to present and discuss your research with world-class scientists. By the end of this PhD, you will have developed into a first-rate independent researcher with a deep understanding of a wide range of terrestrial-coastal-marine issues, leading to journal publications and policy recommendations that will help communities globally. In short, you will be highly employable.

The successful candidate will join the research group of Peter Robins, Davey Jones, Shelagh Malham and Matt Lewis in a multi-disciplinary community of marine and catchment scientists located by the shores of the Menai Strait. The Isle of Anglesey’s stunning coastline and beaches are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the nearby Snowdonia National Park provides the perfect environment for outdoor pursuits including surfing, sea kayaking, coasteering, coastal and hill walking and rock climbing.

To apply, please submit your CV (max. 2-pages including one academic reference), together with a covering letter to Peter Robins and cc to Penny Dowdney :

Informal enquiries about the post may be made to Peter Robins ( The successful candidate will be expected to commence on 1st October 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be an EU national and resident in East Wales (Flintshire, Wrexham, Powys, Monmouthshire, The Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Newport) on University registration, and must also have the right to work in the region on qualification.