PhD Studentship: The Potential for the Refurbishment of Historic Hydro Power Generation for the Benefit of Local Communities in the Highlands & Islands Region

University of the Highlands and Islands - Perth College UHI

Closes: 8th May 2017, 12pm (UK time)

No definitive study has been made of historic hydro in the Highlands and Islands though the potential for power generation is mentioned in several government commissioned reports. A recent scoping study by Ecotechnic, funded by Community and the Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES), revealed over 550 historic sites in four counties of East Scotland alone.

The initial work of this project will be a survey of the water ways across the Highlands & Islands to collate evidence of historic hydro sites such as water mills, weirs and lades. This will be carried out using web-based tools available through for example, Scottish National Heritage, Scottish and Southern Energy, SEPA, along with the accessing of physical records on historic hydro sites from the archives of national, regional and local authority records. Summary reports of sites will be available to give information on the viability for development by land owners, councils and local communities.

With this information, a fuller picture of the original positioning of the sites, their purpose and impact on the local community and future energy generation potential will be developed.

Selected sites will be identified with potential for development for energy generation, restoration, community benefit and tourism. The work will involve the estimation of power output potential of these selected sites and the appraisal of assessment methods and criteria used to calculate power generation. The work will also employ community engagement methods to investigate the benefits and impacts of potential restoration approaches.

Where local communities are involved the increase in cheaper power should help new and existing businesses. There is potential for some sites to become tourist attractions, as a result of the restoration and promotion of heritage e.g. mill wheels, increasing footfall in the community and assisting economic growth and further employment opportunities in this sector. The project findings will contribute to the overall sustainable development of rural communities.

Supervisory Team

The student will be supervised by Dr Robert Boyd, Dr Jayne Glass, and Professor Martin Price, Perth College UHI, and Dr Andrew Rollinson, North Highland College UHI.

To apply:

Click on the “Apply” button below to download the application form and guidance and return to:

Informal project specific enquiries can be made to:

Funding notes:

This studentship is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

The studentship covers fees at the Home/EU rate only, plus a stipend at the RCUK level, for a total of 42 months (including writing-up).

PLEASE NOTE: Funding is available for students worldwide, however non UK/EU students will be liable for the difference between home/EU and international fees.

Students must be domiciled in the Highlands and Islands transition region during the course of their study to be eligible for funding.

Applicants must possess a minimum of an Honours degree at 2:1 and/or a Masters Degree (or International equivalent) in a relevant subject.

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