PhD studentship: Understanding the relationship between urban social, economic and health inequalities and the distribution and impact of Nature Based Solutions

Durham University - Department of Geography

An EU/UK fully-funded PhD studentship (36 months from October 1st 2017) is available at the Department of Geography, Durham University to study the relationship between urban social, economic and health inequalities and the emergence of nature-based solutions for addressing urban issues. A world-class centre for geographical research, the Department was recently ranked 1st in the United Kingdom based on research power (REF 2014) and has a large and vibrant postgraduate community, with regular departmental seminars and paper discussion groups.

The Project

Durham University is the co-ordinating partner for the H2020 NATURVATION project (December 2016 – November 2020) which brings together universities, research institutes, cities and private sector partners in Europe and beyond to examine the potential for Nature-Based Solutions to respond to climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic regeneration and social well-being.

As one part of its work programme, NATURVATION will develop a comprehensive survey of NBS in European cities. The resulting NATURVATION database will detail the type, form, function and distribution of NBS in 100 European cities. It will assess: the key characteristics of urban NBS; the relationships between urban NBS and economic development, social inclusion & health; and the types of innovation that support the uptake of NBS in different European contexts.

The Role

This PhD project will work with the data accumulated in the NATURVATION database to examine how Nature Based Solutions are shaped by existing urban inequalities and how they might contribute to addressing these in the future. The objective is to understand how NBS are distributed within and across cities and to examine how this relates to different key economic, social and health variables that shape urban quality of life and livelihoods. The NATURVATION database will be compatible with other open-access data on economic, social and health indicators. The analysis conducted during the PhD will investigate the connections between NBS projects and these indicators using quantitative methods.

The PhD project will be led by Dr. Niall Cunningham and will work directly with the NATURVATION team at Durham (Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Professor Louise Bracken, Dr Andres Luque as well as newly appointed Project Administrators and 2 PDRAs) as well as with our international partners.


We are seeking a candidate with at minimum a 2.1 degree or above in Geography or a related subject (e.g. Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology), with preference to those candidates who have a Masters level qualification in one of the specialized fields included in this project (e.g. GIS, Urban Studies, Environmental Studies, Public Health). Demonstrable experience in the use of quantitative methodologies, including statistical analysis and GIS, is required.

Application Process

Please send the following documentation by email to

1) CV

2) Cover letter (no more than 2 pages A4) setting out their interest in the PhD project and how their skills and experience can contribute to its successful completion

3) Two references (these can be sent directly to by referees if preferred)

4) Transcripts of your previous qualifications.

Deadline for Applications: February 1st 2017.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates for the position will be held in March 2017.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Northern England