Modelling Nature Based Solutions to control flooding and erosion in Gihembe refugee camp, Rwanda

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Tuition plus Bursary

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 8/5/2020

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2020

To find out more please contact Dr Craig Lashford

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship to model the effectiveness of nature based solutions to migitate flooding in and around the Gihembe Refugee Camp, Rwanda.


Rwanda is exposed to periodic flooding, which poses a threat to the estimated 160,000 refugees living in camps in the country. Informal or semi-permanent settlements are typically located on steep slopes, which exacerbates not only local flood risk, but also that of downstream communities, with slope instability also a hazard during high rainfall events. It is therefore necessary to develop sustainable, nature based solutions (NBS) to mitigate flood risk and reduce erosion.

Working with the community in the Gihembe refugee camp (GRC), an estimated population of 12,500 people, hydrological modelling will be conducted to highlight areas susceptible to flooding. The community will co-design NBS, based on blue-green infrastructure such as trees, wetlands and ponds, which will subsequently be modelled to assess the feasibility and impact of introducing such measures to limit surface runoff in the camp and flooding to adjacent land. Additional modelling, in line with SDG 13 (climate action), will also be undertaken, to ensure the long term sustainability of the project, and that it not only manages current flood risk, but accounts for that of a changing climate. The design will work with the community to not only address surface water issues, but also greywater and drainage (SDG 6).


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
    the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


In addition to the entry requirements, it is desirable that the candidate has experience with hydraulic modelling tools (Flood Modeller, for example). French speaking is also desirable as the candidate will be working with communities in Rwanda.

The candidate should be willing to learn and become familiar with the socio-political context of the region. It would be useful if the researcher has some experience of fieldwork outside of the UK.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr. Craig Lashford 

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Apply to Coventry University