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Funded PhD Opportunity

Planning for Community Resilience: bridging the policy-practice gap

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Summary

By 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Yet, cities across the globe face unprecedented challenges from, for example, urbanisation, climate change, demographic change and technological advances. At the global level, the UN is coordinating global efforts to address such challenges via international agreements (e.g. the Paris Agreement), policy (e.g. the New Urban Agenda) and goals (e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals).

At the national and local levels, governments, non-governmental bodies, businesses and civil society will need to be collectively engaged in achieving such objectives to make cities more resource-efficient, competitive, healthy, inclusive and resilient. The field of resilience has rapidly evolved and has permeated scientific and popular debates with new ideas being tested and introduced in relation to the planning, regeneration and governance of urban areas (Coaffee and Lee 2016). ‘Community resilience’, in particular, has opened up an important sphere for developing theoretical and policy understandings of vulnerabilities at the community level (McElduff et al. 2016). This emerging field contains many voices expressing multiple, and sometimes conflicting, interpretations and meanings.

There are continuing tensions between normative and analytical stances on resilience, and its application to social and ecological systems and dilemmas has been widely critiqued for under-theorising social dimensions, most notably, the omission of political and cultural dynamics (see for example, Davoudi et al. 2012). Additionally, there is a clear gap between the advocacy of resilience in the literature and its take up as a policy discourse on the one hand, and the demonstrated capacity to govern for resilience in practice on the other (Wilkinson, 2011). This PhD research seeks address these gaps by exploring the conceptual and practical issues involved in building resilient communities.

The research will focus specifically on the role of urban planning in strengthening the ability of society to adapt to, and mitigate for, the anticipated impacts of contemporary social (e.g. demographic change and migration), economic (e.g. enhancing city/region competitiveness), environmental (e.g. climate change and coastal change) challenges. The research will identify how resilience has been interpreted and utilised in national and local planning policy, providing a useful case study for global urban governance. It will subsequently investigate the extent to which such policy ambitions have been translated into practice at the local/community level. Through adopting a comparative case study approach, the research will critically evaluate practical approaches to deal with the complex, multi-faceted nature of the challenges facing urban areas and the communities that live there.

The intended outcomes of the research include an evidence based framework for how resilience thinking can be translated into policy design and practical responses to ensure planning policy-makers and practitioners can better understand and manage the cities of today and tomorrow in a coherent and coordinated way.


Essential criteria

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

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 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 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 £7,500 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.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
Week beginning 9 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Dr Linda McElduff


Other supervisors

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