PhD Studentship: Understanding Geomorphic Response to Hydrological Events: Filling the Data Gaps

Loughborough University

Application details:
Reference number: SPGSNERC17/DG1
Start date of studentship: October 2017
Closing date of advert: 25 August 2017
Interview date: 1 September 2017

Primary supervisor: Dr David Graham
Secondary supervisor: Dr Rene Wackrow

Applications are invited for an industrial CASE PhD studentship funded by the NERC National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). The project will start in October 2017 and be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University and SEPA in Stirling.

SEPA have identified the lack of grain-size data at bar to catchment scales as a critical data gap, limiting their ability to predict future patterns of channel erosion/deposition and to model flood risk. Obtaining such data is therefore a key priority, but its availability is limited – principally because it is expensive and time-consuming to collect.

Recent technological developments – particularly in small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and structure-from-motion photogrammetry – provide the opportunity to obtain data in the ‘sweet spot’ of high resolution and wide spatial coverage. This project will exploit these developments to create and apply an image-based 'sediments toolkit' for the characterisation of river bed sediments at local to catchment scales. This will be used to improve the management of river sediments and modelling of flood risk by SEPA in Scotland, and will be applicable to river research and management problems in the rest of the UK, and beyond.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more:

The Department of Geography is housed in a redesigned and refurbished building, with purpose-built, state-of-the-art research laboratories. Our physical geography staff are renowned internationally for pioneering new ways of thinking and working in ‘environmental processes and management’. We have been ranked 13th in the UK for Geography (The Complete University Guide 2018).

Find out more:
Further information is available here:

General information about the Department of Geography can be found at

Entry requirements:
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Civil Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Funding information:
The studentship is for 4 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, the studentship is only available to those who are eligible to pay UK fees. All applicants must meet the NERC eligibility criteria, including having been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for at least three years.

Contact details:
Name: David Graham
Email address:

How to apply:
All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Geography.  
Please quote reference number: SPGSNERC17/DG1

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Midlands of England