PhD Studentship - Exploring Community-based Geohazard Response Schemes in Gansu, China

Loughborough University

Start date: October 1st 2018

Interview date: Week beginning February 12th 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr Tom Dijkstra
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ksenia Chmutina

Intro (standard):

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

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Project Detail:

In the Bailong region of Southern Gansu (China) sustainable community development and the resilience of infrastructures that connect them is severely compromised by the dynamic nature of the natural environment. Communities are exposed to severe hazards that include seasonal events such as landslides, extreme rainfall and flooding, and recurring hazards such as earthquakes. The disaster risk picture of this region is further complicated by added pressures resulting from rapid societal change (expanding urban footprints and increasing transport links).

This PhD project aims to achieve fully integrated, community-centred schemes that enhance early warning and reduce geohazard impact. The research emphasis will be to gain a better understanding of the human-landscape interactions and associated process-response systems. The research will also address three further research questions; (i) how do communities develop their perceptions of geohazard and risk, (ii) what are the priorities in terms of sustainable development and resilience building in this landscape and (iii) how can we mobilise indigenous and scientific knowledge to develop effective community-based response schemes in a truly multi-hazard framework to fully address disaster risk, develop appropriate early warning systems and achieve more resilient societies.

The research comprises significant fieldwork in the Bailong region and secondments to Lanzhou University. Practical research actions will be co-developed with key stakeholders in Lanzhou, Wudu and Zhouqu.

This project requires a diverse set of skills and we are looking for students with a background in Geography, Environmental Sciences, Engineering or Disaster Management who can combine an understanding of natural hazards with an ability to carry out community-based research. This broad scope of the research provides opportunities to co-develop the core activities and create a PhD that fits best with the capabilities and interests of the PhD candidate.

Find out more:

For further information, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr Tom Dijkstra ( or Dr Ksenia Chmutina (

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Environmental Sciences, Engineering or Disaster Management.  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 (£4,195 in 2017/18) 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 Tom Dijkstra

Email address:

Telephone number: +44 1509 228744

How to apply:

Please quote CENTA17-LU13 when completing your online application.

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