This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Coastal Governance on the Island of Ireland: challenges and opportunities in a new era

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


The coast of the island of Ireland is highly productive and diverse, and supports a range of socio-economic needs and desires including tourism, recreation, fisheries, industry and power generation. Yet, the coast is also a vulnerable resource and is increasingly exposed to changing environmental parameters (e.g. increased storm intensity and erosion); social change (e.g. transient populations and an ageing demographic); and economic instability (e.g. seasonal employment and reliance on tourism/fishing). Implementing effective responses to the various demands and stressors necessitates a systemic appreciation that respects natural and anthropogenic interactions across multi-scalar processes and contexts.

The emergence of marine governance structures and regimes present a certain opportunity to enhance the resilience of coastal communities. The Marine Policy Statement (HM Government 2010), for example, requires marine planners in the UK to plan in such a way that ‘benefits society as a whole’. Marine Spatial Planning thus is required to have positive terrestrial, as well as marine, impacts. This is challenging in practice as the coastal-marine divide constitutes a complex governance arena where a range of rights, responsibilities and values can coalesce or compete: creating spaces of innovation but also for conflict.

At the local level, there is a growing awareness of the need to embed mitigation and adaptation strategies into local spatial planning tools and processes. Localised responses, however, are shaped by the hierarchal (national – supranational) governance architecture within which local government operates; which may serve to promote or limit the development of a more strategic approach to responding to, and managing, coastal change. It is critical, therefore, to understand the supporting legal rules and institutions which serve to define what is permitted, who has the power to do what and the consequences of different acts, omissions and situations.

The UK’s impeding exit from the EU poses further uncertainty in terms of potential legislative changes and gaps, and the future of cross-border planning. This doctoral research critically explores the capacity (and willingness) of existing institutional arrangements to facilitate the development of a more strategic approach to managing coastal change on the island of Ireland. Particular attention is placed on the weight given to issues of community resilience and well-being and how these are, or are not, taken into consideration in decision making processes. In doing so, it provides practical policy recommendations for maximising the socio-economic benefits of marine planning and securing more resilient outcomes for coastal communities.

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £14,777 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 19 February 2018

Interview Date
12 March 2018


Apply Online

Contact supervisor

Dr Linda McElduff

Other supervisors

Related Funded Opportunities in: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning ,

Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

 View Details