Developing the talent pipeline in the ocean (blue) economy: enhancing the social and education outcomes of children and young people living in peripheral coastal locations

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Tourism and Hospitality (and select the entry point of October 2022), then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process, please contact

Director of Studies: Professor Sheela Agarwal
2nd Supervisor: Professor Sheena Asthana
Other Supervisors: Dr Aoife Daly, University College Cork, Dr Clodagh Harris, University College Cork
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022.

Project description
This project addresses the challenges of poor social and education outcomes, under economic performance, skills shortages and the climate emergency associated with many UK coastal communities. This comprises an investigation of: the attitudes, aspirations and motivations of children and young people living in peripheral coastal locations; their interest in, and perceptions of, the value of STEM subjects; and, their perceptions of the opportunities afforded by the ocean economy. It aims to: 
  • Collate, aggregate and attribute social and education data to meaningful units of spatial analysis that capture social and educational outcomes for children and young people living in UK coastal communities; 
  • Focusing on Cork and Plymouth, incorporate children and young peoples’ voices through creative and participatory research approaches, revealing how they feel about: coastal living; education; STEM subjects; employment opportunities within the ocean economy; barriers; and, future prospects; 
  • Identify policy-relevant modifiable drivers and mediating factors, influencing education and social outcomes and the building of a future ocean economy talent pipeline; 
  • Develop policy-focused interventions empowering children and young people to take-up opportunities afforded by the ocean economy and contribute to combating adverse climate change impacts by aiding the transition to net zero carbon economies. 
An interest in coastal communities and the ability to work with children and young people to capture their voices and undertake quantitative and qualitative analysis is desirable.
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.
The successful candidate will be awarded a studentship for 3 years which covers fees, stipend (non-taxable £16,062 per year – increasing in-line with UKRI) and funding to cover research costs (£1,500 per year). A discrete annual travel/collaboration budget between UCC-UoP will also be available.
The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates.
NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.
Applications are welcomed from UK, EU and Non-EU students. Please be advised that there are English language requirements in place which must be adhered to. Please note funding does not cover visa costs (including immigration health surcharge) or other additional costs associated with relocation to your place of study.
If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Sheela Agarwal
Please see a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact
The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 3 July 2022. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview before the 15 July. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Our Strategic Research Partnership with University College Cork

Climate change is a global emergency. In the wake of COP26, it is more evident than ever that the world needs to take radical action to tackle this crisis.
To that end, the University of Plymouth and University College Cork have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join forces in establishing a Post-COP26 Doctoral Training Partnership.
It will aim to address some of the key climate challenges and opportunities of our time, while inspiring and nurturing the next generation of innovative and pioneering researchers.

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