Assessing the impact of in-channel vegetation on flood risk PhD

Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
Entry requirements:
3.5 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
22 January 2018



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Project detail

Vegetation in river channels can have a profound effect on channel conveyance capacity and the probability of overbank flooding. Aquatic vegetation introduces blockage within the channel, reducing the effective cross-sectional area of the channel available to the flow, while the vegetation leaf and stem edges also represent additional channel boundaries, exerting friction on the flow. Together, these two factors alter the local stage-discharge relationship.

Stage-discharge relationships are essential for flow/flood monitoring and prediction. Therefore, it is important to have a good understanding of any potential sources of error or variability in calculations, caused by factors such as vegetation, especially during periods of high flow. Understanding the effect of vegetation on channel capacity is complicated further by the seasonal life-cycle of vegetation growth and decay, as well as the spatial heterogeneity in vegetation distribution at different points in a river network. Consequently, at present, little is known about the magnitude of these vegetation impacts and the effect on overbank flood probabilities.

This PhD project aims to provide new insight into the effect of vegetation on flow in rivers and devise novel methods for the accurate prediction of flood risk. The project will involve using state-of-the-art field and numerical methods to quantify the impact of vegetation on stage-discharge relationships in river channels, and the effect on flood hazards at the catchment scale. The studentship will provide excellent opportunities for training in flow measurement, and numerical modelling and analysis (both statistical and hydraulic).

We are seeking candidates with a strong quantitative background in geography, civil engineering or environmental science who are keen to contribute to developing new methods for predicting flood risk, through collaboration with a multi-disciplinary research team and relevant end-users.


Primary supervisor: Dr Tim Marjoribanks

Secondary supervisor: Dr Louise Slater

Find out more

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website, or contact Dr Tim Marjoribanks or Dr Louise Slater.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Civil Engineering or Environmental Science. A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2018. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum (in 2017/18) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,195 in 2017/18) 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. Further guidance about eligibility is available at RCUK Terms & Conditions.

How to apply

To apply you will need to;

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format available online.
  2. All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select “Architecture, Civil and Building Engineering”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.
  3. Please quote CENTA17-LU9 when completing your online application.

Application details

Reference number: CENTA17-LU9
Application deadline: 22 January 2018
Start date: 01 October 2018
Interview date: Week beginning 12 February 2018