Choppy sea

Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures: Pioneering the green-blue humanities


Funded PhD


4 years

Application deadline:

29 March 2021

About the Centre for Water Cultures

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.

We are now recruiting postgraduate researchers to join us as part of a 4-year funded scholarship programme. We are currently recruiting to between 5 and 8 funded PhD scholarship projects starting within the Centre for Water Cultures in September 2021. Further projects will be advertised in future years. 

The challenge

Today, human-induced climate change is increasing both the likelihood and severity of floods and droughts. Coastal, estuarine and delta populations in the world’s green-blue regions are particularly vulnerable in an uncertain future climate. People and societies must learn to ‘live with water’ and build resilience at the individual, local, regional, national and global scales. Engaging diverse communities and building resilience to water stresses and shocks are urgent societal challenges, with the most vulnerable often the least well informed about exposure and mitigation.

In studying humanity’s relationships with water in these critical green-blue zones, we need to learn from the past, from multiple disciplines, and from Western, non-Western, and Indigenous water cultures. Doing so will foster new understandings of how humanity’s relationships with the environment needs to change in order to sustain the cities, communities, and cultures of these risky regions for the generations of tomorrow.


We are advertising eight interdisciplinary projects exploring global water cultures through time and across space. These draw on a range of disciplinary approaches from English to History, Geography to Education, Drama to Environmental Sciences, and Health Sciences to Politics.

Explore the projects being advertised for entry in 2021:


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.

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

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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

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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.

Entry requirements

We are now inviting applications for funded 4-year PhD studentships 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. Please check individual project eligibility criteria for more information.


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.