Dr Trevor Tolhurst, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Dr Irene Lorenzoni, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Mr Rob Goodliffe, North Norfolk District Council
Rising sea levels and other effects of climate change are exacerbating coastal change internationally. Recognition of the benefits of coastal defences that work with natural processes has resulted in a shift towards ‘soft’ coastal protection. An innovative large-scale beach nourishment (sand addition) is being implemented in 2019 to reduce coastal erosion at the Norfolk Bacton Gas Terminal. Inspired by the Dutch ZandMotor, this ‘Sandscaping’ Scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK (https://www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/sandscaping).
Geomorphological monitoring and modelling of coastal responses are currently underway, however the benefits, impacts and implications for society require investigation. The Dutch experience revealed unforeseen effects and responses, raising important questions about societal and governance responses to the Sandscaping Scheme.
- Baseline analysis of existing and emerging work on coastal management and the ZandMotor to identify key elements for study, e.g. perceptions of the Scheme, governance.
- Repeat survey work with stakeholders, residents and visitors, to understand how the Scheme and related coastal changes are perceived and understood by groups and communities managing, living at and using the coast.
- Creation of future scenarios, using ecological and geomorphological monitoring and modelling data, to investigate via focus groups how different futures could alter perceptions, governance, longer-term impacts and costs/benefits of the Scheme.
- Exploration of the Scheme in relation to understandings of climate change among different groups, and how this may affect communication and knowledge translation at different temporal and spatial scales.
The project thus provides the first longitudinal study of social opportunities and challenges of Sandscaping as a technical innovation for adaptive governance and management of coasts.
You will complete DTP training (e.g. summer schools), and specialised research training including: principles of research design; surveying/interviewing; capabilities and ethics of data collection; understanding the significance of alternative epistemological positions; mixed methods research designs; secure data storage, cataloguing and disposal; interdisciplinary working; scenario building; networking with stakeholders and policy actors.
You should have a strong interest in multidisciplinary approaches to understanding societal responses to innovation and emerging governance issues. Suitable backgrounds include natural and social sciences (environmental science, geography, psychology, sociology).