PhD Extreme Storm Response on Sandy Beaches

DoS Mark Davidson (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 584740)

2nd Supervisor Gerd Masselink (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 585902)

3rd Supervisor Paul Russell (, tel.: +44 (0)1752 584741)

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on October 1st 2013.

Project Description

The School of Marine Science and Engineering is seeking to recruit a fully funded PhD student to study extreme storm response on sandy beaches, commencing 1st October 2013. The project will focus on the measurement, analysis and modelling of swash processes and morphological response during extreme wave conditions (Hs > 5 m). Data will be collected using our customised Rapid Coastal Response Unit, which consists of a large transit van with box trailer equipped with video cameras, laser scanner, wave sensors, current meters and a GPS-mounted ATV for morphological surveys. The study will focus on a number of sandy beaches in Cornwall with fieldwork taking place over short periods during the winter season.

The successful candidate will be involved with a wide range of field research techniques, including video cameras for monitoring wave runup, laser scanner for recording swash dynamics and bed-level changes, pressure sensors and current meters for measuring hydrodynamics and a quad-bike mounted RTK-GPS system for conducting beach surveys. XBeach will be used as the numerical modelling platform.

Candidates should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in an Ocean Science, Geography or Coastal Engineering area. Applicants with a relevant masters level qualification would be particularly welcome. Candidates will need to develop competencies in field data collection and data analysis techniques (e.g. using Matlab), and are expected to fully participate in other CPRG nearshore field research projects. A driver’s licence, valid in the UK, would also be advantageous.

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The studentship will be based in the Coastal Processes Research Group which provides a vibrant research environment with 9 internationally recognised coastal research staff, 5 PDRAs, 10 PhD students and 2 dedicated technicians. CPRG has an equipment pool totalling over £1M and 50% of its research was judged world-leading or internationally excellent in the UK Government’s most recent research assessment exercise.


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant masters qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £13,726 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £9,790 per annum).

For further information on the project, please contact the supervisors by email (;; Background information on CPRG can be found at:

For an application form and full details on how to apply, please visit Applicants should send a completed application form along with a covering letter detailing their suitability for the studentship, C.V., and 2 references to Francesca Niedzielski, Faculty of Science and Technology Research Office, Room A425, Portland Square, Plymouth, PL4 8AA or e-mail

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 28th June 2013. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications.

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