Choppy sea

Discourse and governance of UK flooding and coastal erosion


Funded Phd


4 years

Application deadline:

29 March 2021

About the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures

The University of Hull's Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area, the ‘green-blue humanities.’

It equips a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward, transforming our understanding of our relationships with water and shaping future research agendas, methods, and approaches within and between disciplines.

Join our webinar – Thursday 11 March 2021

We are hosting a free webinar to help you find out more about funded postgraduate research at the Leverhulme Centre for Water Cultures. Join us to hear from programme leaders, supervisors, students and researchers and ask any burning questions at the Q&A. Register here

About this project

This is an exciting opportunity for an ambitious, talented and enthusiastic researcher to conduct interdisciplinary research in order to advance thinking within the area of blue-green humanities through researching UK strategy, public policy, and governance of flooding and coastal erosion.

Dealing effectively with floods and coastal erosion is a key strategic priority for the UK governments. The Environment Agency is revising its National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, the Welsh Government is revising its National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is due to update its Local Flood Risk Management Plans and Flood Risk Management Strategies in 2022.

Diverse communities are affected by extreme flood events, as others face the effects of coastal erosion on homes and livelihoods in what are often already economically deprived coastal communities.

Issues of risk and uncertainty, diversity of population, geography and local cultures present governments, their agencies, and their critics with a hugely complex policy issue. Work in cultural political economy (Sum and Jessop, 2013, for example) suggests that simplification of complex policy issues is inevitable and necessary for governance practices, but that reality will always ‘bite back’.

Using methods of critical discourse analysis to engage with and critique UK strategy, public policy, and governance of flooding and coastal erosion this project addresses the broad research question: To what extent is UK discourse of flood and erosion policy fit for purpose?

In doing so, the project will aim to critically map-out and analyse UK flood and coastal erosion policy, framing contemporary policy in its historical context and showing how flood discourses have changed over the last 50 to 70 years.

The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area, the ‘green-blue humanities’

Find out more

The Energy & Environment Institute is a world leader in research into global water risks and resilience

Find out more

The University’s Risky Cities project draws on Hull’s long history of living with water to build flood resilience today and for the future

Find out more


Doctoral scholars appointed to interdisciplinary projects within the Centre for Water Cultures will be supported by PhD scholarships, funded for 48 months. These cover fees at the UK rate, a maintenance grant of £15609 per year, and a generous research and training support grant.

We expect to support at least 5, and up to 8, doctoral scholars to join the Centre for Water Cultures in September 2021. Further projects will be advertised in future years.

Entry requirements

We welcome applications for this funded 4-year PhD studentship, to start in September 2021.

You should have a good first degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent) in a relevant subject. The successful candidate should ideally hold an MA (or equivalent) in English Language (or related discipline) and have some knowledge of text and discourse analysis.


International applicants


The Centre for Water Cultures welcomes applications from international candidates.

While the Leverhulme Trust funds fees at the UK rate, we are able to offer a limited number of international fee waivers to support EU and international applicants. These are likely to be attached to no more than 30% of our scholarships.


How to apply


Please follow the instructions on how to apply carefully as otherwise your application may not be considered.

Apply for the project Discourse and governance of UK flooding and coastal erosion.

You will need to provide the following supporting documents:

  1. CV of no more than 2 pages (Arial, minimum font 11 point, margins 2.54cm).
  2. Transcripts. (A transcript is proof of education. It is a detailed record of all the subjects you have studied with your scores in the form of marks or grades given by your institution of study.)
  3. Personal Statement: Please provide a personal statement, of no more than 800 words (Arial, minimum font 11 point, margins 2.54cm), outlining: (i) what motivates you to pursue PhD study; (ii) why you are interested in your chosen project; (iii) your research experience, including how your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need; and (iv) the wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.
  4. English Language qualifications where required. For more information, see our PG admissions page.