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Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures - Flooded Futures: Exploring sci-fi imaginings to develop future flood resilient cities


Funded PhD


4 years

Application deadline:

30 January 2023

About this project

Flooded Futures: Exploring sci-fi imaginings to develop future flood resilient cities

This exciting PhD project explores the use of science fiction to support community imaginings of future flood resilient cities as well as to investigate the potential for these ideas to support policymakers and practitioners.

Science fiction has inspired countless people over many generations to think ‘what could be’ in imagining possible futures for humankind. These stories have grappled with future risks and explored society’s potential social, technological, behavioural and cultural responses. These include critical reflections not only on responses to flooding (e.g. use of floating homes and floodable cities), but also on potential societal challenges and concerns with these responses.

The interdisciplinary PhD project will utilise community-based data collection approaches, interviews, policy analysis, and engage with critical and creative literature on utopian and dystopian futures as well as on justice and fairness to understand not only what could be, but also what should be in pursuing flood resilient futures.

The PhD researcher’s thesis will blend critical and creative perspectives alongside data-driven research and findings. Outputs will include a curated anthology of community-written stories from the workshops and a policy note on the approach and findings.


If you have any queries about this project, please address them to, rather than contacting the supervisor directly. This is to support our inclusive recruitment practices (please see ‘How to apply’ section below for more information). Our Water Cultures Professional Services Team will liaise with Supervisors and ensure you receive responses to your queries.



Watch this recording of our recent webinar, for more information about the funded projects available through the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures. You will be able to hear an introduction to the Centre, to the individual projects from the lead supervisors, as well as the Q&A.


Other PhD Scholarships in the Water Cultures research cluster

“All the Watery Margins:” Water and the American Civil War

Creative community engagement for climate and water action: a comparitive study

Holy Wells, Springs, and Water Cures (‘Imagining Water’) 

“I am the sea”: water, emotion, and geography in early modern literature and culture

Investigating the links between climate-related water stresses, migration and human trafficking


About the research cluster

The University of Hull Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures is an interdisciplinary research centre exploring humanity’s relationships with water in the green-blue regions of the world, past, present and future.

It pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area – the green-blue humanities – and equips a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward and transform our understanding of humanity's relationships with water.


Research Training

The Centre for Water Cultures offers an unrivalled doctoral training scheme designed to promote open-minded and outward-facing researchers, ready to collaborate across disciplines, and to partner with industry and other non-academic organisations, in the search for innovative solutions to today’s water challenges. Doctoral scholars will benefit from a dedicated placement scheme with opportunities to undertake placements of 1-3 months with one of our range of national and international water, heritage, and creative industry partners, designed to develop the career ambitions of our scholars within and beyond academia. They will benefit from a dedicated programme of invited talks, masterclasses, and workshops delivered by speakers from academia and industry. They will also receive bespoke support for career development before and beyond graduation, delivered by our interdisciplinary teams of supervisors and via our mentoring programme, which offers one-to-one support for professional and career development.

The University of Hull is uniquely positioned to deliver doctoral research training in the green-blue humanities. No other UK university offers Hull’s combination of an international reputation in water research, significant expertise and experience in community engagement and cultural sector evaluation (gained as Hull UK City of Culture’s principal research partner), along with a rich maritime history and long experience living with complex water challenges.

The Centre for Water Cultures is housed in Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute (EEI), a world leader in research into global water risks and resilience, including in relation to climate change, flooding, marine pollution and toxic water, and home to state of the art research facilities including the Total Environment Simulator (TES), experimental research flumes and high-performance computing running sophisticated hydro models. Doctoral Scholars at the Centre for Water Cultures will benefit from access to the EEI’s facilities and research environment, and from world-class expertise in water-related research in the arts, humanities, social, physical, and health sciences at Hull.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Research Training, in addition to their research degree. More information.

How to apply

You will need to complete this Centre for Water Cultures Supplementary Application Form which you can download here and upload your completed form, alongside the other supporting documents requested below.

As part of our inclusive practices, the Centre for Water Cultures adopts a process of assessing applications purely based on skills and attributes and does not consider any personal details. As such we ask applicants to remove any personal details from the Supplementary Form which is used by the Panel to assess and select applicants for interview. The form asks for details of your education, training and employment history as well as some specific questions about your motivations and research experience and interests. It is very important that you do not include any personally identifying information such as such as name, age, gender, ethnic group, nationality etc.

To complete your application, you should upload the following documents through the University of Hull student application portal (you will be directed there via the ‘Apply Now’ link below):

Please note that you can only apply for one project in the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarshps Centre for Water Cultures.


Apply Now

Apply for this scholarship 


Closing date for applications

Monday 30 January 2023



Interviews will take place during the week commencing 6 March 2023

Postgraduate student reading in the Brynmor Jones Library
Ocean wave

Watch: find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Hull

The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures pioneers a new humanities-led, interdisciplinary and trans-historical area, the 'green-blue humanities'

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


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 £17,668 per year (2022/23 rate), and a research and training support grant.

Applicants already holding a PhD (or equivalent qualification) will not typically be considered as eligible for a Centre for Water Cultures scholarship. Applicants in this position wishing to apply must make a compelling case for their motivations in their personal statement.

Entry requirements

You should have a good undergraduate degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent) in a relevant subject with a strong social science focus as well as experience of creative writing.

A Masters in a relevant subject is desirable, but not essential.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language competency. Information on the tests that we accept can be found on the University of Hull website.


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.


Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within 48 months from the start of your PhD scholarship.