PhD researcher at Lancaster University (GIS / Remote Sensing), UK


Fully funded Position for PhD researcher at Lancaster University (GIS / Remote Sensing)

Wetlands as flood defences: increasing the resilience of coastal cities to storm damage

Why we want to do this science?
It has been estimated that up to 2.75 billion people worldwide will be exposed to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming in 2025. Eco-engineering, which combines nature-based and structural measures, makes maximal use of the ecosystem capacity of wetlands to dissipate storm surges and waves, and trap sediment. This approach has recently attracted increased interest from worldwide governmental organisations as a preferred strategy for flood risk mitigation and climate change adaptation in some of coastal megacities. Yet the ability of coastal wetlands to protect coastal communities from storm damages has been questioned.
The aim of this PhD is to provide quantitative evidence on how coastal wetlands respond to natural and man-made stressors. The project will integrate state-of-the-art remote sensing data and numerical modelling to address the aim. The project will be focused on the Venice lagoon where the Mose flood protection scheme and restoration of wetland habitats are currently implemented.
What’s in it for you?
Become expert in remote sensing and numerical modelling for the coastal environment. A range of methods will be used to achieve the project aim such as remote sensing, GIS and application of numerical modelling. It will require the development of a novel-object oriented method for ‘tracking’ of channels, vegetation and suspended sediment pathways from freely available remote sensing data (LANDSAT and SENTINEL programs). You will receive high quality supervision in remote sensing, GIS and numerical modelling from the supervisory team.
Develop links with external organisations. This project benefits from linkages with the UK government research institutes and the Consorzio Venezia Nuova (the Mose project). This will allow you to interact with staff in both organisations, acquiring the data and necessary information for the project. This will also complement expertise provided by the supervising team.
Join an exciting research environment. You will benefit from the research training programmes offered by the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lancaster University, by being part of the large and vibrant Lancaster Environment Centre and by becoming a member of the Geoinformatics group. There may be opportunities to spend some time working in Venice.
Who should apply?
We are seeking applications from graduates or those who expect to graduate in 2016 with first class honours degree or Masters degree. This PhD would be of particular interest to any applicant with a background in remote sensing, GIS and/or coastal processes. You must have demonstrable potential for creative, high-quality PhD research.
The small print
Studentship funding: Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 2015/16 [tax free])) for UK/EU students for 3.5 years or full studentships (International tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 2015/16 [tax free])) for International students for 3 years.
Academic Requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.
Deadline for applications: 14 February 2016
Provisional Interview Date: [tbc] Week Beginning 29 February 2016
Start Date: October 2016
For further information or informal discussion about the position, please contact Dr Suzi Ilic (
Application process: Please upload a completed application form (download from outlining your background and suitability for this project and a CV at LEC Postgraduate Research Applications,
You also require two references, please send the reference form (download from to your two referees and ask them to email it to Andy Harrod (, Postgraduate Research (PGR) Co-ordinator, Lancaster Environment Centre by the deadline.

Due to the limited time between the closing date and the interview date, it is essential that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.