Department of Geography

PhD Studentship: Understanding geomorphic response
to hydrological events: filling the data gaps

Start date: October 1st 2017
Interview date: Week beginning February 13th 2017
Primary supervisor: Dr David Graham
Secondary supervisor: Dr Rene Wackrow

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2017. The project will be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University.

Project Detail:

Flood intensity is increasing in the UK and many rivers are becoming more mobile. Our understanding of how river systems respond to flood events comes principally from morphological measurements, and neglects the critical role played by the nature of the bed material in controlling the entrainment and mobility of sediment, channel conveyance during floods, and the ability to support ecologically and economically important fauna & flora.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA; CASE partner) 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. An example benefit will be improvements in our ability to return degraded rivers to more sustainable, flood-resilient morphologies.

Find out more:

General information about the Department of Geography can be found at and for more information about the project, see the CENTA website or contact Dr David Graham (

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth Science 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, which is intended to start October 2017. It provides a tax-free stipend of 14,296 per annum (2016/17 rate) for the duration plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of 8,000. Due to funding restrictions, only students with UK/EU fee status will be considered for this opportunity. For further information on studentship eligibility please see RCUK Terms & Conditions.

Contact details: Dr David Graham,, +44 (0)1509 222763

How to apply:

Please quote CENTA-LU8 when completing your online application.

Closing Date: 23rd January 2017

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