Deadline: 2016-01-25
Value of Scholarship: Loughborough
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship – Interacting UK Hazards – Impacts and Origins

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2016. The project will be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University.

The UK is affected by several natural hazards. These cause severe disruption and financial losses, such as in the summer floods in 2007. The hazards are currently considered independently of each other, but they could interact [e.g., Gill, 2014]. Severe summer floods, for instance, could be more likely in years that are also stormy. By using UK houses as ‘sensors’ recorded in insurance losses, this project will better understand extreme events (e.g., flood, storm) and their mutual underlying drivers. A pilot study [Hillier et al., 2015], using a novel statistical way of examining past loss data, has robustly shown that interactions can alter likely ‘worst case’ losses to domestic property by ~£300 million. This has potential to contribute to policy making about the resilience of the UK as climate changes, and is of interest to insurance companies (Zurich Plc, project partner) and more widely; see the Guardian report  (19th Oct).

The project is to use both meteorology and insurance claims data sets to understand key interactions between hazards in the UK and how they impact us as part of the UK hazard-risk system. It is based around ‘Catastrophe modelling’, an industry-based GIS ‘Monte Carlo’ simulation methodology that links physical models of hazards to financial loses. The approach is relatively little used in academia, giving potential for exciting new developments (e.g. hazard inter-dependency). A core of the work is low risk, but scope exists for a student to innovate and excel (e.g. incorporating the effects of future climate change to 2100 with global climate models such as ECHAM5/OM1). Training will include (1) fieldwork, integrated modelling, (2) GIS, and relevant programming e.g., SQL, R, python (3) extreme value and multi-variate analytical statistics. Secondments to Zurich Insurance Plc. (3-6 months) and at the BGS (2-3 weeks) have been negotiated.

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The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2016. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,057 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position.

Students will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in any degree with a strong numerical component and some geographical interest (e.g. Geography, Earth Science etc.).  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

General information about the Department of Geography can be found here  and more information about the project and CENTA can be found here. For informal enquiries, please contact Dr John Hillier (

To apply:

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format, and then
  2. Complete the online application using the following link: During the online application process, upload the CENTA application form as a supporting document.

Closing date for applications: 25 January 2016
Interviews will take place in the week commencing 15 February 2016

Please quote CENTA-JH when completing your online application

Apply Now

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