PhD Studentship - Assessing the Impact of In-channel Vegetation on Flood Risk

Loughborough University

Start date: October 1st 2018

Interview date: Week beginning February 12th 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr Tim Marjoribanks
Secondary supervisor: Dr Louise Slater

Intro (standard):

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014)

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Project Detail:

Vegetation in river channels can have a profound effect on channel conveyance capacity and the probability of overbank flooding. Aquatic vegetation introduces blockage within the channel, reducing the effective cross-sectional area of the channel available to the flow, while the vegetation leaf and stem edges also represent additional channel boundaries, exerting friction on the flow. Together, these factors alter the local stage-discharge relationship.

Stage-discharge relationships are essential for flow/flood monitoring and prediction. It is important to have a good understanding of any potential sources of error or variability in calculations, caused by factors such as vegetation, especially during periods of high flow. Understanding the effect of vegetation on channel capacity is complicated further by the seasonal life-cycle of vegetation growth and decay, as well as the spatial heterogeneity in vegetation distribution at different points in a river network. Consequently, at present, little is known about the magnitude of these vegetation impacts and the effect on overbank flood probabilities.

This PhD project aims to provide new insight into the effect of vegetation on flow in rivers and devise novel methods for the accurate prediction of flood risk. It will involve using state-of-the-art field and numerical methods to quantify the impact of vegetation on stage-discharge relationships in river channels, and the effect on flood hazards at the catchment scale. It will provide excellent opportunities for training in flow measurement, and numerical modelling and analysis (both statistical and hydraulic).

We are seeking candidates with a strong quantitative background in geography, civil engineering or environmental science who are keen to contribute to developing new methods for predicting flood risk, through collaboration with a multi-disciplinary research team and relevant end-users.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr Tim Marjoribanks, or Dr Louise Slater,

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Civil Engineering  or Environmental Science.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Funding information:

The studentship is for 3.5 years to start in October 2018. It provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum (in 2017/18) plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position. Further guidance about eligibility is available at RCUK Terms & Conditions.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Tim Marjoribanks

Email :

Telephone: +44 1509 222622

How to apply:

  • Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format from
  • All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select “Architecture, Civil and Building Engineering”.  During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA17-LU9 when completing your online application.

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Midlands of England