This opportunity is now closed.

Funded PhD Opportunity

Future climate – Engineering Solutions

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


The built environment is symbiotic with the natural environment and consequently together they are the essence of all life infrastructure. Civic Ecology and Life Infrastructure collectively encompasses the significant global societal challenges of health, demographic change and wellbeing; food security; sustainable agriculture the bio-economy; smart, green and integrated transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; and inclusive, innovative and reflective societies in a changing world. It reflects who we are in the human ontological project, it protects and enhances our ethical and societal needs yet all the while contributing to our vulnerabilities.

In any post-disaster recovery period civic ecology and life infrastructure tends not to be the priority, however, as the immediate effects of disasters abate and the process of ‘normalisation’ ensues these aspects of humanity require equal standing and consideration. As the focus turns to ‘human livelihood’ recovery, clean-up, and removing/ limiting the impacts of exposure to future hazards environmental concerns need to be firmly identified and integrated into our life infrastructure. Relatedly, it is of necessity that we restore the levels of (functional and indigenous) biodiversity, to restore the ecological status of affected habitats, if we are to avoid dramatic changes in their capacity to provide ecosystem services.

Research projects under this theme will address the societal challenges presented by UN Sustainable Development Goals, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Examples of potential research projects include:

*Mainstreaming Human Centered Design thinking,

*Engineering nature-based solutions to sustain ecosystem services,

*Biodiversity actions on critical ecosystems post-disaster,

*Avoiding eco-gentrification in post-disaster recovery projects,

*Sustaining food security in an evolving built environment.

Research under this theme ordinarily engages you in a balanced mix of desk top studies, laboratory analysis and field work. The campus’s facilities extend across our extensive physical and online library resource, combined with appropriate analytical software. The research supervisory and advisory team have a wide range of industry experience and maintain a strong link with industry, professional bodies and civic society, which greatly enhances your research environment.

Each doctoral candidate has a supervisory team, experienced and actively researching in the topic area. You will be afforded the opportunity to develop focused study and research skills to address your project-specific requirements.

The skills you bring will be…

*A passion for your chosen topic.

*An analytical mind with the capacity to interrogate the breadth and depth of the subject.

*An appreciation of the importance of delivering relevant and impactive research outputs.

*An ability to work independently, with appropriate levels of supervision.

You will…

*Gain access to international experts in your field, through literature, professional networks and webinars;

*Work closely with regional experts from industry, professional bodies and civic society;

*Attend and/ or present at relevant conferences, seminars and workshops;

*Author and/ or co-author research papers for consideration by appropriate academic journals; and

*Attend Master Classes given by Visiting professors and industry experts as appropriate.

These experiences are designed to enhance your ability to establish your research credibility in the international research community.

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)
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology


    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 18 February 2019

Interview Date
13 March to 21 March 2019


Apply Online


Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact supervisor

Dr Ciaran McAleenan

Other supervisors

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