12 fully PhD funded studentship starting in September 2019

Project title: Climate planning and implementations of infrastructures-CLIPI (Ref: OP19_19)

Lead Supervisor: Dr Oliver Heidrich, School of Engineering, Newcastle University

Contact information: oliver.heidrich@newcastle.ac.uk 

Key Research Gaps and Questions:
The project will answer four important Research Questions (RQ):
1. How and in what sense do Local Climate Plans aim to alter urban infrastructure?
2. Within which timeframes, at which costs, and within which sectors has the planning of infrastructure changes been implemented?
3. To what extend have implemented projects helped to reduce GHG emissions and climate risks in cities?
4. What is the perceived value and risk of CC infrastructure implementation?

Project Description:
Cities around the world and in the UK in particular develop local climate plans (Heidrich et al 2016; Reckien at al 2018). Yet, the success of these plans might only unfold when their aims and objectives in terms of climate actions are implemented – infrastructures are build (outcome). Whereas a number of studies have addressed the content of local climate plans, information on the outcome of these plans is largely missing. While highly important to increase our knowledge to the effectiveness of local climate plans, such an assessment is challenging. Assessment methodologies will need to be developed. The student will develop an analytical framework to guide the research. Employed methods comprise desktop analysis for RQ1, infrastructure mapping, questionnaire surveys and interview guidelines for staff of local authorities in cities like Newcastle, Manchester, North Tyneside and ground truthing for RQ2, calculate mitigation e.g. GHG accounting and adaptation e.g. flood defences efforts (RQ3) and conduct Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping for RQ4.
CLIPI aims to determine whether local climate plans represent an effective means to mitigate GHG emissions and adapt cities to climate change, in particular considering the (at times) limited direct action space, sectors and scope that is under control of Local Authorities (direct influence, or across the different sectors) to impose the implementation of their plans. The student will acquire innovative natural and social science tools, such as GHG accounting methodologies and tools as well as the network based interview and analysis methods to provide a quantitative and qualitative measure of the perceived risk and value of climate change adaptation and mitigation infrastructures. 

Prerequisites: Strong mathematical and statistics skills for analysis. Engineering, natural science background; case study research; some social science knowledge e.g. questionnaire, online surveys are desirable.

ONE Planet vision is to provide a training environment that develops and fosters innovative, transformative ways of working. We aim to produce independent research scientists and future leaders. They will design sustainable transdisciplinary responses needed to address intensifying global change.

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