Resilient Coasts 

Mangrove density to improve understanding of buffer
zone effectiveness to coastal hazards (produced under E04SD project with NOC
UK, 2020)

Plymouth-based marine and coastal science consultant, Resilient Coasts Ltd, benefited from hiring a University of Plymouth Ocean and Coastal Sciences graduate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Resilient Coasts operate worldwide, using their technical knowledge and experience in marine science and coastal engineering to support organisations and agencies to avoid the consequences of climate change. Utilising climate and disaster risk management principles, they have worked with municipalities and private landowners as well as the UK Environment Agency, US Army Corps Engineers, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in the Caribbean.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, company Director Dr Emma Rendle wanted to capitalise on the forced "downtime" for the business by undertaking key marketing and project analysis work that had remained previously untouched due to high workloads. She said:

“The pandemic meant much of our crucial environmental survey work had to stop temporarily. We quickly saw this as an opportunity to undertake journal article development and project analysis work that we weren’t able to focus on up to that point. I anticipated an increase in future workloads and knew we needed a new employee to support with this work.”

Emma visiting proposed Sindh Barrage site in
Pakistan, with ADB team.
Emily Hunt, University of Plymouth graduate and PhD student working with Resilient Coasts
Emma working with stakeholders in Saint Lucia on
Coastal Resilience project, for GCF project.

As a University of Plymouth graduate herself, Emma had established links with the University but the company had not hired a graduate before. The STEM Graduates into Business project, led by the University, offered an opportunity for the business to do this and included a bursary of up to £2,400, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, to provide support with wages and other expenses. Emma explained why she went down this path:

“I knew we could get the right skill sets from a University graduate but the financial and time outlays of recruiting a new member of staff can be costly for a small business like ours. The STEM Graduates into Business project offered both free recruitment support and a financial grant that, during these uncertain times, certainly helped us to be able to recruit.”

Resilient Coasts hired Ocean and Coastal Sciences graduate Emily Hunt to support with this crucial work. Emily began working for the company in July 2020, undertaking article development, blog post and project analysis work. This was used for marketing and business development activities for the business. Working from home, Emily provided high-quality work:

“My main focus to-date has been on hydrodynamic modelling and data analysis of physical processes to assess the feasibility of using offshore windfarms for habitat restoration. This is a prevalent topic, whereby the use of offshore windfarm sites may significantly aid restoration efforts and carbon sequestration, and, as such, we are currently preparing an article to publish our findings.

"My next focus will involve supporting a project with the Asian Development Bank to assess and work to reduce climate-change related risks on the Indus Delta, Pakistan. My time so far with Resilient Coasts has been challenging and exciting, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Resilient Coasts.”

Emily is planning on undertaking her PhD in "Predicting Coastal Resilience to Climate Change" starting in 2021 but continues to support Resilient Coasts with valuable project work, including a key project with Asian Development Bank on the Indus Delta in Sindh, Pakistan. Emma said:

“Recruiting during a global pandemic was certainly a different strategy, but the support offered by the STEM Graduates project was invaluable. We were able to hire Emily and undertake research and development work that we could not focus on previously. Having Emily on board on a longer-term basis would be really beneficial, especially if our consultancy workload starts to increase after the summer lockdown.”

Images (from left):

  • Emma visiting proposed Sindh Barrage site in Pakistan, with ADB team.

  • Emily working on the University of Plymouth's Falcon Spirit.

  • Emma working with stakeholders in Saint Lucia on Coastal Resilience project, for GCF project.