Natural Flood Management: Optimising design to reduce geomorphic impact


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January 2019

About this project

Leaky wooden dams are being used as a significant component of many planned and implemented Natural Flood Management schemes.

Their low installation cost and simple design, has led to their widespread application, but with minimal design and limited critical assessment of best practice in design and construction. For example, informal designs that block the whole channel result in significant scour, producing elevated downstream sediment loads, impaired performance and, potentially, eventual failure.

Furthermore, the longitudinal spacing may interfere with natural pool-riffle sequences and the effects of constructing dams both in and out of phase with these features is unknown. Such dams thus provide a poorly constrained contribution to flood retention.

Alternative, more substantial, designs that are raised above mean low flow levels and constructed to retain known volumes of water, may limit their geomorphological impact to large flow events, but with largely unknown long-term impacts on catchment sediment load and geomorphology.

This project will use a combination of fieldwork, experiments and numerical modelling to assess the behavior of leaky dams of different porosities, installation heights and installation angles at different flow rates.

These results will be used to improve the design of leaky dams for natural flood management schemes (working with Forest Research, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and others), both in terms of hydraulic effectiveness/efficiency and bio-geomorphological effectiveness.

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

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Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a 1st class undergraduate degree in physical geography, earth sciences, engineering or related disciplines, or Masters level research qualification in a relevant discipline, together with an interest in numerical modelling and environmental flows. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

Interviews will be held between 7 and 27 February 2019.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15 March 2019 at the latest.

Studentships will start on 16th September 2019.