From Marine Protected Areas to Nature-Based Solutions

Project Details


This studentship belongs to the UNESCO Chair in Ocean Governance.

Marine and coastal ecosystems are of vital importance for human health and well-being, and provide climate change adaptation and mitigation ecosystem services like coastal protection, flood control, etc. The programme will draw evidence from around the world to really make a case for marine Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) as an ecological, social and economic solution to mitigate and adapt from the effects of climate change. Through early and ongoing engagement with key local stakeholder and leading international organisations, the programme will use global evidence-based knowledge to meet local needs and answer societal challenges at all levels.

This work will be done in collaboration with the EU funded H2020 project MaCoBioS (Marine Coastal Ecosystems Biodiversity and Services in a Changing World) and other similar projects.

The PhD will be co-supervised by Professor Pierre Failler (Director of the Centre for Blue Governance at the Faculty of Business and Law, co-coordinator of MaCoBioS), Dr Ian Hendy (Senior Lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences) and Dr Cindy Cornet (Research Fellow at the Faculty of Business and Law, co-coordinator of MaCoBioS).

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,609 for 2021/2022). Bursary recipients will also receive a £2,000 p.a. for project costs/consumables.

The work on this project could involve:

- Fieldwork in salt marshes, seagrass beds and kelp forests.
Interactions with various groups of stakeholders (e.g., fishers, tourists, policymakers, NGOs).

- Undertaking an analysis of how conservation and restoration actions can become nature-based solutions according to the IUCN standards.
Liaising with initiatives and working groups on NBS.
Contribution to a UNESCO exposition on NBS (to be held in Paris in May 2024)
Project description

This studentship will open a new area of blue governance research focused on the importance of our ocean and coasts to people. The conservation and sustainable use and our ocean and coasts is a critical global challenge, especially in light of our sustainable blue economy ambitions and the urgency of climate action. This studentship will examine how novel and innovative approaches to coastal and marine governance can generate ecological, social and economic benefits for coastal communities while driving positive climate action, looking in particular at seagrass beds, kelps forests and saltmarshes across a gradient of human actions in the UK. The studentship will develop indices on the viability and durability of NBSs from an ecosystemic approach, and the capacities of NBSs to mitigate from and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The studentship will assess the potential for application of each NBS identified in terms of environmental, technological, social, and economic criteria. There is high interest in identifying practical and cost-effective actions to sustain or implement NBS. The studentship will contribute to assist stakeholders in their choice of NBSs given the local context and societal challenges.

Finally, the studentship will contribute to the design of a GIS-based methodology supporting mapping and ranking of most suitable NBSs allowing facing multiple risks affecting marine coastal ecosystems. Specifically, its application will be based on the identification of adequate indicators allowing to represent suitability features for NBSs implementation, whilst considering socioeconomic factors and governance systems driving planning and decision-making processes (e.g. cost and time of implementation, benefits/business opportunities, political systems). The maps will represent valuable information to drive robust decision-making and to provide the means for dynamic adaptive policy pathways in the context of marine and coastal ecosystems conservation, restoration, and management.
Short titleMPAs to NBS
Effective start/end date1/03/221/03/26


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