Localised beach monitoring with real-time alert notifications – MRes Scholarship

Localised beach monitoring with real-time alert notifications

Aberystwyth University, Department of Computer Science

Project ID: AUM60006
Annual Stipend: £11,937
Application Deadline: 30th June 2022

Project Description

The Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre (WCMC) is tasked with continuously monitoring the coast of Wales to assess erosion and flood risks to the population living near the coast. This role entails regular surveying of long stretches of land on the coast, giving priority to “at risk” areas. This currently represents just under 500km but could extend to 680km of flat (mud, sand and/or shingle) coast.  Currently the surveys are performed a few times a year, typically manually but increasingly using more automated methods (the topic of a previously funded KESS 2 project).

This project is about developing an inexpensive system that would allow the constant monitoring of specific areas, raising alarms should something change dramatically.  The change indicators are mostly height of the substrate on the monitored coastal area.  The substrate can be sand and pebbles on beach areas, but could also be rock on cliff areas, mud on mudflats, etc.

The key requirements of such a system are that (1) it can run for extended periods of time without supervision, (2) it is inexpensive and easy to deploy and (3) that it raises alarms in real time following specific events (usually a sudden change in height of the beach or shape of the cliff).

The first task for the student will be to investigate in detail the types of events, and their quantification, that need to be detected.  This will be done in collaboration with the WCMC.  This will lead to studying what sensors are appropriate, taking into account the events to be detected but also power consumption, processing requirements, robustness, etc.  Other necessary components will also be investigated, such as processing unit and communication mechanism.  A device will then be built as a first experimental system, and tested in situ (on a site decided by the WCMC).  Testing will be done using the criteria mentioned above.  This will lead to more prototypes deployed in different areas.

All the work will be made publicly available so that other organisms similar to WCMC can produce and deploy their own systems.

The ideal candidate will have some knowledge of designing and building embedded devices as well as programming them.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree and be available to take up the studentship by 18th July 2022. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II Masters scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners.)

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office by 30th June 2022:

1. A completed Research Programme Application, an up-to-date CV and two references. Applications should be made via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/study-with-us/pg-studies/apply/ . Here applicants can provide us with their personal details, select their chosen course and upload documents in support of their application.

2. A completed KESS 2 Participant proposal form (put the reference number AUM60006 in the top right-hand box of the application form). KESS 2 application forms are available to download at the link below.


3. A supporting statement of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description. This can be uploaded via the Postgraduate Admissions Portal at the point of application or submitted via email to pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk

Please email applications to pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk and kess2@aber.ac.uk

Value of Award: A stipend of £11,937. Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II Masters Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 1 year. (Theses must be submitted 3 months after the funded year study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the Masters).

Eligibility: 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 West Wales on University registration, and must also have the right to work in the region on qualification. The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taff

Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Frédéric Labrosse at ffl@aber.ac.uk or 01970 622388

Quote Reference AUM60006

Closing date for applications 30th June 2022