3-year PhD Assistantship in coastal planning, policy and design to pursue research on climate and disaster visualizations

PhD in Marine Affairs at University of Rhode Island

3-year PhD Assistantship in coastal planning, policy and design to pursue research on climate and disaster visualizations

Position description: The University of Rhode Island (URI) Dept. of Marine Affairs (web.uri.edu/maf) is seeking a PhD student to study climate and disaster visualization techniques. URI is recognized as a leader in the US and globally in the field of coastal climate adaptation. The student will pursue the application of design theory and practice to complex challenges of long-term planning for urban coastal communities vulnerable to climate change impacts.  For the past two years, we have been conducting research into making improved visualizations of climate hazards such as storm surge and sea level rise that may be used by decision makers in coastal communities.  The student will conduct independent research aligned with these themes. This work uniquely combines aspects of design, policy, and applied science.

The doctoral student will under Prof. Austin Becker (web.uri.edu/abecker) and receive interdisciplinary training in coastal planning and policy in the Department of Marine Affairs. Three years of funding for this position will come from a combination of Research Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship support. Preferred start is Fall 2016.

Qualifications: We seek a highly-motivated student with a Master of Landscape Architecture (or equivalent) and a strong academic record who wishes to pursue interdisciplinary work. The ideal candidate will have a background in design and an affinity for science and policy.  Visual communication skills and design problem solving skills, such as being able to work with and around technical limitations or constraints, are essential.  Familiarity with statistical techniques and programming is also highly desired, but not required at the outset. The work currently will leverage a range of technical skills, including procedural modelling and scripting techniques as well as more traditional 3d modelling and geomodelling.  Although it’s not necessary to have all of the skills at the outset of work, the ideal candidate will minimally have a strong familiarity with 3d modelling and visual communication, and a willingness to learn and self-teach skills.

The preferred candidate will have excellent writing, drawing, and visual communication skills, as well as experience with:

  • 3d modelling software such as Rhino (or similar) and associated problem solving skills
  • scripting, or a willingness to learn scripting skills
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • GIS


To be considered, please send cover letter, CV, transcripts, and work samples (writing and design), and the names/contact info for three references to abecker@uri.edu.


For more information, please contact Prof. Austin Becker at abecker@uri.edu or see web.uri.edu/abecker