Modern shipwrecks act as a hidden pollution risk, as they may release toxic components into the environment depending on the state of preservation. These sites act as open systems, with the exchange of material (sediment, water, toxic fluids and solids) and energy (wave, tidal, storm) across system boundaries. Formation processes at these sites are therefore driven by a combination of chemical, biological and physical processes.
Around the coastlines of Europe, numerous WWI and WWII wrecks are slowly corroding, acting as nuclei for environmental contamination. WWI wrecks are also increasingly recognized from an archaeological perspective. The UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage provides protection for sites over 100 years old and strongly emphasises the use of non-destructive methods. WWI wrecks now fall under the protection of the Convention. Whilst 48 states have ratified the UNESCO 2001 Convention, the Republic of Ireland and the UK have not. In the Republic of Ireland, this is mitigated by blanket protection of all wrecks over 100 years. Consequently, approximately 400 wrecks have become protected and require governmental management. In contrast, the UK lacks blanket protection legislation, relying on the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973) which affords protection only to specific vessels based on their importance. As such, under this legal framework, there is additional pressure to ensure that WWI underwater cultural heritage in UK waters is documented, protected and managed to the best of our abilities.
This PhD project will examine the preservation state and evolution of select WWI wrecks in the Irish Sea. Greater understanding of the physical processes that effect the long term stability and evolution of these sites is paramount in their protection.
The PhD researcher will use an exceptional very high-resolution (circa 5 cm) mutlibeam echosounder (MBES) bathymetric and backscatter data, high-resolution seismics and sediments samples collected in 2015. The researcher will characterize these wreck sites from physical and bio-physical perspectives. Wreck site formation and evolution will be explored through the integration of high-resolution time-lapse MBES surveys and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modelling.
The objectives are:
This project would suit a numerate researcher with a background in geoscience, marine science, archaeology or environmental science with interests in seabed mapping, wrecks, hydrodynamic processes, and GIS.
- To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
- A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.
- First Class Honours (1st) Degree
- Masters at 65%
- Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
- Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
- Work experience relevant to the proposed project
- Experience of presentation of research findings
Funding and eligibility
Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)
- The scholarship will cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance allowance of £15,609 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). The scholarship also provides £900 per annum as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation.
- Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,750 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living