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Applications are now open for PhD studentships starting in October 2018. 

Please read the recruitment introduction for more information about eligibility, how to apply, and possibilities for further funding.

The deadline for applications is 8 January 2018.

Project search


GUAN_UDEV18EE - Managing the flood footprint for a resilient economy and society (CASE studentship with Anglian Water)

Project description

Selected other project supervisors
Dr Helen He (UEA)

Research rationale
Flooding in one location can impact the whole regional or national economy. Neglecting these knock-on costs (i.e. the true footprint of the flood) means we might be ignoring the economic benefits and beneficiaries of flood risk management interventions. Flood footprint is a measure of the exclusive total (socio)economic impact that is directly and indirectly caused by a flood event to the flooding region and wider economic systems (and social networks).

Research methodology
This research will take an interdisciplinary approach to develop a multi-regional flood footprint accounting model and couple it with flood engineering model in order to assess direct and indirect economic impact by climate extreme events. This research attempts filling the knowledge gap of quantifying cascading effects of frequent climate extreme events. In particular, the project has 3 specific milestones to meet: 1) A flood inundation model will be developed and calibrated to simulate flood water depth, velocities, and inundation extent. 2) Utilise multi-regional input-output analysis to develop a global multi-regional flood footprint accounting framework; 3) Apply the coupled accounting model to case studies locations assess direct and indirect economic impact at local / national / international level.

The student will benefit from an internship in Anglian Water to directly work with stakeholders to prepare flooding resilience strategy for Norfolk.

We seek an enthusiastic, motivated and conscientious individual with strong scientific interests and some economic analysis skills. Degree in an environmental subject (Environmental Sciences, Environmental Economics, Water Engineering and Physical Geography).

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with over twenty other research partners. Undertaking a PhD with the EnvEast DTP will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by EnvEast on 12/13 February 2018.

Selected candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553. Ordinarily, EnvEast studentships are for 3.5 years, although longer awards may be made to applicants from quantitative disciplines who have limited experience in the environmental sciences, to allow them to take appropriate advanced-level courses in the subject area.

In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.

This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).


  1. Serrano, A., D. Guan*, R. Duarte and J. Paavola, “Virtual Water Flows in the EU27: A Consumption-based Approach”, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2016, 20( 3): 547-558.
  2. Zhao, X., J. Liu, Q. Liu, M. R. Tillotson, D. Guan, K. Hubacek, “Physical and virtual water transfers for regional water stress alleviation in China” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 2015, 112(4): 1031-1035.
  3. Guan D. and K. Hubacek*, “Assessment of regional trade and virtual water flows in China”, Ecological Economics, 2007, 61(1): 159-170.
  4. Guan D.* and K. Hubacek,“A new integrated hydro-economic accounting and analytical framework for water resource consumption: A case study for North China”, Journal of Environmental Management , 2008, 88(4): 1300-1313.
  5. Cloke, H., Wetterhall, F., He, Y., Freer, J., Pappenberger, F. (2013) Modelling climate impact on floods with ensemble climate projections, in Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 139. pp. 282-297.