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ESRC Collaborative Studentship in climate change and technology adaptation to support service continuity and flood response and resilience

ESRC Collaborative Studentship in climate change and technology adaptation to support service continuity and flood response and resilience


ICT and telecommunications networks form a key part of today’s critical national infrastructure, essential to proper functioning of society as well as facilitating rapid response to emergencies such as natural disasters. Climate change is causing, as a long term trend, an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events in the UK. This includes, for example, flooding from surface water runoff in built environments, from rivers and from coastal surges. Technology infrastructure providers need to maintain service against this increasing risk to infrastructure assets and, equally importantly, to field-force personnel safety and ability to respond.

This research will look holistically at steps already taken towards climate change adaptation to support service continuity and flood resilience as well as how the use of ICT can facilitate greater resilience, both in operations and for societal benefit. Work undertaken by Allen and colleagues contributes to a growing body of research which posit that greater resilience and a more effective response to climate change related events should include decentralised models of decision making, allow improvisation and include citizens. This challenges current approaches to resilience and building of resilience and response through the lens of public and private sector organisations rather than citizens. The emerging model advocated at Leeds and elsewhere also points to the use of emerging radical new IT infrastructures (such as mobile ad-hoc networks) to allow new ways of working rather than reinforcing existing models of infrastructure provision and information flow. The work will explore the link between these emerging models and technology design for resilience in terms of assets and processes, the role of ICT in environmental sensing solutions and services (e.g. from passive sensors to UAVs), as well as the role of mobile devices and solutions (e.g. LTE or 5G based) and their adaptability to enable efficient end-to-end effective response.

BT will be a project partner for this research. In the UK, BT is the leading communications services provider, selling products and services to consumers, small and medium sized enterprises and the public sector. Additionally, BT sells wholesale products and services to communications providers in the UK and around the world.

This studentship is open to UK/EU fee rated applicants. Awards are available to support:
• Full-Time/Part-Time PhD Study (+3) commencing on 1st October 2015; or
• Full-Time/Part-Time Masters & PhD Study (1+3) commencing in September 2015. Candidates applying on a 1+3 basis would be expected to apply for the MSc Research in Business & Management.

Number of awards: 1

Value of award: UK applicants will be eligible for a full award (paying fees and maintenance at standard Research Council rates) if they meet the residency criteria (part-time study will be pro-rata). EU applicants are normally eligible for a fees only award, unless they have been resident in the UK for 3 years immediately preceding the date of the award.

For full eligibility details and how to apply for the funding please visit

For how to apply to the PhD programme at Leeds University Business School (essential for funding application) please visit

Scholarship regulations

These include the following (full information on the regulations will be sent to all successful applicants):

Applicants should read the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guidelines before completing the application form and be willing to abide by the conditions and regulations it contains.

+3 Awards must be taken up on 1 October 2015, 1+3 awards must be taken up in September 2015. 1+3 Studentships are four year awards comprising a Masters followed by a 3-year PhD programme. +3 Studentships are for 3-year PhD study for applicants who have already completed a Master’s Degree or appropriate research training programme. Applicants may also apply on a part-time basis. Further details on available awards can be found in the University of Leeds website.

The award will be made for one year in the first instance and renewable subject to satisfactory academic progress.
Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this Scholarship.