Catastrophe Modelling of UK Storm Surge Risk PhD

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



of research classed as 'internationally recgonised'

REF 2014


in the UK for Geography

The Complete University Guide 2018

Top 20

in the UK for Geography

Guardian University Guide 2018


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

What is the UK’s present day storm surge risk, and how will this change in the future? Wind-driven coastal flooding or ‘Storm Surge’ is an important risk to the UK, but its standard assessment methodology (SRJPM) dates to 1995 and does not include spatial correlation between assets at risk (e.g. houses and infrastructure). This project will address that limitation, and progress this research field by: i) taking advantage of the developments in statistical techniques and climate modelling that includes greenhouse gas forcing scenarios; and ii) integrating this with advanced numerical modelling of storm surge and coastal flood inundation, and risk analysis.

Excitingly, modelling will go all the way from surges driven by off-shore storms to inland coastal inundation (i.e. flooding) and risk assessment. It aims to quantify all likely surge disasters, focusing on the national (i.e. whole of UK) and but illustrated with local scale (i.e. urban centre) case studies.
Risk assessment will use ‘catastrophe modelling’, a GIS methodology from the (re-)insurance industry that links physical models of hazards to financial loses; effectively ‘Monte Carlo’ simulation.

Internationally, this work is supported by Prof. Ning Lin of the Hurricane Hazards and Risk Analysis Research Group at the prestigious Princeton University.

For this project, the PhD student will gain state-of-the-art skills to analyse financial loss and meteorological data. This training will be in modelling, planning for resilience, and understanding environmental systems. The student will gain strength in skills identified by NERC as ‘most wanted’ for jobs in the environment sector; ‘modelling’, ‘multi-disciplinarity’, ‘numeracy’, ‘risk and uncertainty’ and this project will thus be excellent preparation for the environmental employment market.


Primary supervisor: Dr John Hillier

Secondary supervisor: Dr Dapeng Yu

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Dapeng Yu or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about postgraduate research in the department of Geography please visit our website.

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth Science 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 here.
  2. All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select “Geography”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.
  3. Please quote CENTA17-LU3 when completing your online application.

Application details

Reference number: CENTA17-LU3
Application deadline: 22 January 2018
Start date: 01 October 2018
Interview date: Week beginning 12 February 2018