Published: 6th October 2021

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Cranfield University, School of Water, Energy and Environment

Vacancy: Research Assistant or Fellow in Economic Valuation of Coastal Zone Environments

Fixed Term Contract for 36 months

Flexible working will be actively considered


Full time starting salary is normally in the range of £31,059 per annum (Research Assistant) and £33,809 per annum (Research Fellow)

Location: Cranfield, Bedfordshire

Cranfield University’s world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships is creating leaders in technology and management globally. Learn more about Cranfield and our unique impact here

About School of Environment and Agrifood

For 50 years, Cranfield University has been contributing to enhancing natural capital and ensuring that global food systems are more resilient for the future. We are recognised worldwide by industry, government and academe for our research and teaching in plants, soil, water, and air.  Our strengths range from environmental governance and risk, to food security. We work with environmental agencies, within agriculture, and with governments and non-government organisations, to ensure that our research benefits all in society.  

About the Role

The Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Informatics at Cranfield University is looking for an enthusiastic and talented Post-Doctoral Research Fellow to work on an exciting new NERC project called “Resilient coasts: optimising co-benefit solutions (Co-Opt)” (  This is being funded under NERC’s Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources programme ( 

The sea and communities are in constant interaction on the coast.  Whilst people can benefit greatly through that interaction, for example, from productive and recreational activities, they can also be harmed.  Currently, over 1.8 million homes in England are estimated to be at risk from coastal flooding and erosion and this imposes huge economic costs on society.  These hazards will increase over time as the climate warms and sea levels rise.  Increasingly, coastal management and adaptation will require nature-based solutions such as the development of coastal habitats and wetlands.  However, the uptake of nature-based solutions remains well below what is needed to meet the targets for managed realignment.  The reasons are complex, but include lack of public support as well as difficulties in developing coherent economic arguments for nature-based solutions.  

Working closely within an interdisciplinary team of scientists and with project and public stakeholders, the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will develop an integrated and interdisciplinary economic modelling framework that will be used to examine the costs and benefits of “grey” coastal defences and “green” nature-based coastal defences.  The Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will then apply the model at a number of selected case study sites to identify how coastal management options under various future scenarios will impose different sets of costs and benefits.  In doing this, the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will help identify how nature-based coastal management options and the ecosystem services they provide, compare with grey coastal management options, from an economic and societal perspective.  

About You

You will have a PhD (or be close to completion) in applying economic analysis in land use or ecosystem services valuation, with demonstrable applied experience in environmental economics and quantitative economic research.  You will be motivated to use existing economic models and develop new quantitative economic modelling tools to assess coastal zone management options.  Excellent modelling skills, particularly in Excel, will be needed.  Preferably, you will be also have some experience of applying social science methods, to support development of questionnaires, undertake qualitative interviews, and run stakeholder workshops, in order to investigate how social perceptions, support, and concerns might vary between grey and green coastal management options.  You will have excellent written and verbal communication skills.  

Further information on the post can be found by visiting ( ).

Our Values 

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Our equal opportunities and diversity monitoring has shown that women and minority ethnic groups are currently underrepresented within the university and so we actively encourage applications from eligible candidates from these groups.

To further demonstrate our commitment to progressing gender diversity in STEM, we are members of WES & Working Families, and sponsors of International Women in Engineering Day.

Flexible Working

We actively consider flexible working options such as part-time, compressed or flexible hours and/or an element of homeworking, and commit to exploring the possibilities for each role. Find out more here.

How to apply 

For further details and to apply, please go to: