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Fully Funded Leverhulme Trust UK PhD Scholarship: Artificial Intelligence-Assisted Saltmarsh Flood Mitigation Assessment

Swansea University - Civil Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,622 Fully funded
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 16th January 2024
Closes: 28th February 2024

Funding providers: Leverhulme Trust UK

Subject areas: Coastal Engineering, Artificial Intelligence

Project start date: 

  • 1 July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)

Project description: 

The current estimated damage due to coastal flooding in the UK alone is £540 million/year. Coastal flooding will rapidly increase in future, as the UK is expected to face at least 1m of sea level rise by 2100. The UK Committee on Climate Change acknowledges the urgent need for implementing flood mitigation measures, while the UK Government’s Resilient Nation prosperity outcome recognises the need to implement climate-adaptive flood defences. Coastal wetlands have been recognised as potential buffers against storm impacts, serving as a Nature-based Solution (NbS) for flood mitigation, which have become favoured options over building hard defences. Managed realignment of saltmarshes has already been implemented as flood and coastal erosion control measures in the UK. However, recent research suggests that managing saltmarshes as a flood defence is hindered by unresolved context-dependency where the estuarine environment, marsh morphology and flood drivers) define different contexts. The high computational costs of running computational coastal simulators multiple times over with a diverse and distinct set of parameters and highly specialised multiple skill requirements prohibits a thorough exploration of the parameters that control the efficacy of saltmarshes. As a result, beyond a general recognition that NbS for flood mitigation are inherently context-dependent, it has been difficult to advance i) fundamental understanding of the key drivers of nature-based flood mitigation, and ii) derive explicit recommendations on how best to manage and configure saltmarshes to meet policy demands.

In recent years Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been successfully utilised to solve complex coastal engineering problems. We aim to develop a new data-driven emulation tool to unravel context-dependency and predict flood mitigation of saltmarshes by integrating computational modelling and AI. The primary aim of this PhD project is to establish a new computational model of wave attenuation on coastal vegetation which can be used as a simulator to assist the development of the AI emulator. The project is a part of a larger research grant funded by the Leverhulme Trust, UK. The PhD student will work alongside a postdoctoral researcher and contribute to the development of the AI emulator.

Eligibility

Candidates must hold an MEng/BEng in Civil/Coastal Engineering with 1st or 2.1 or MSc in Marine Science, Coastal Engineering, Computational Engineering, Ocean engineering or Oceanography. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.

Desirable skills and attributes:

  • Basic knowledge on coastal hydro- and morphodynamics;
  • Numerical modelling;
  • Statistical methods;
  • Willingness to learn computational coastal modelling and Artificial Intelligence.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.

Additional Funding Information

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £18,622 at UKRI rate.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

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