Apply now: PhD Studentship in Scottish Island Climate Change Impact @ UWS

Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change: engaging participatory approaches to inform community decision-making.

Project Description
Project Ref: PHDSS1715. Adaptation to climate change is recognised as an important policy issue from the EU down to national and local government levels. Adaptation generally takes place at the local level, however, there remains limited experience or evidence in incorporating knowledge of climate change impacts or adaptation thinking into local planning strategies and local government decision-making.
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Islands are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, changing weather patterns and their impacts on storminess, coastal erosion, and flooding. Moreover, the particular nuanced contexts of remote rural settings can compound this physical vulnerability, a layer of vulnerability that is not considered in the typical climate change impact studies. Most climate change impact studies have tended towards a top-down approach, rather than engaging the communities and decision-makers impacted by climate change in the analysis of vulnerabilities. For an effective adaptation policy, local circumstances and characteristics need to be taken into account. An assessment following an integrated perspective on vulnerability is a mean for capturing this knowledge for decision-making.

The studentship aims to develop an adaptation assessment framework suited to participation, integration, and collaboration on local perspectives on climate change adaptation in the context of island communities. The study offers an opportunity to assess the risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities of climate change through the co-production of knowledge with stakeholders. Baseline assessments of climate change vulnerability will be performed using an integrated socio-environmental vulnerability assessment methodology in a number of island case study sites in Scotland. This study will also explore how engagement and data collection may be enhanced and indeed fundamentally altered by contemporary geospatial technologies, which are opening new avenues for data collection, presentation, and collaboration.

For interest and further information  on this interdisciplinary studentship please contact either the Director of Studies: Dr Alexandre Gagnon  ( or Dr Kathryn A. Burnett (

Full details of the studentship and how to apply are here:

Funding Notes

UWS is an inspiring, vibrant place to study with a growing research community; an important aspect of which is its outstanding and committed research students.

Successful candidates will receive an annual stipend of £14,553 per annum for three years and payment of tuition fees (current value £4200). Applicants are advised that funding will be considered as part of a competitive round and there is no guarantee that it will be awarded.

Studentships are open to Home/EU candidates with a first degree in a relevant discipline. Non-EU students can apply, but will not receive the stipend and will be required to pay fees.

How to apply:

Postgraduate Degree by Research Applications should be completed online at

Applications without all relevant documents will not be considered. Please quote the Project Reference Number.

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