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School of Geography

Environment Agency fully funded PhD studentship - Diffuse pollution in the coastal zone: contamination from waste filled seawalls


Queen Mary University of London - School of Geography and the Environment Agency

The School of Geography Queen Mary University of London is seeking to appoint one fully funded studentship commencing September 2012 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is internationally recognized as a centre of research excellence and was ranked joint 1st amongst UK Geography departments in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Diffuse pollution in the coastal zone: contamination from waste filled seawalls

Please click the link above for further information and application details

Project outline
Rising sea level and an increased frequency of coastal storm surges will result in an increased risk of flooding and erosion of low-lying coastal areas and their defences. Some of this low lying land (particularly in Essex) is contaminated and following the coastal floods of the 1950s some coastal sea defences were rebuilt and strengthened using domestic waste material. These contaminated low-lying areas and coastal defences are now very vulnerable and there is a potential for diffuse pollution to be released to the marine environment following either inundation with tidal waters or breach/failure of these waste-filled sea walls.

The overall aim of this PhD is to explore sustainable management options for these coastal defences under current scenarios of climate change. The objectives of the PhD are; 1) to assess the nature and extent of contamination in seawalls in Essex, 2) to examine the potential for the release of diffuse pollution (including contaminants and sediment) to the coastal zone following tidal inundation and/or erosion of the waste-filled seawalls, and 3) to advise the Environment Agency on sustainable management options. In addition to producing a thesis, the student will have to attend EA project meetings and deliver contaminant datasets and interim reports at agreed times to the Environment Agency. This project will provide an excellent opportunity for the student to develop a broad skill set leading to potential careers in environmental consultancy, environmental conservancy/management and research.

The Award
The project will be funded by the Environment Agency and the studentship comprises the full cost of fees and £16000 (approx) per year maintenance for 3 years. In addition, the successful candidate will receive a Research Training Support Grant from the School of Geography to support field work, analytical costs, conference attendance and other costs associated with their research.

Application Deadline
The closing date for applications is 5 pm 24th August 2012. Applicants should be available for interview in the week beginning September 10th 2012.