Vancouver Island Ocean

Vancouver Island, BC. Credit: Mathijs Deerenberg from

PICS is Seeking a PhD student for an exciting new project: Coastal Flood Adaptation Planning and Governance in the South Coast of British Columbia

The School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia is offering a full-time opportunity for a doctoral candidate in climate change planning, and specifically coastal flood adaptation planning and governance to support Living with Water, a $1M funded research project by PICS.

The doctoral student will work with Dr. Maggie Low and receive interdisciplinary training in planning, environmental studies, Indigenous governance, Indigenous rights and climate change. Ideally the student will be interested in learning from Indigenous approaches to coastal adaptation, and committed to holding up Indigenous laws, knowledges and perspectives in their work on this research project.

Four years of funding for this position (at $25,000/year) will come from a combination of a yearly stipend and research assistantship support. Preferred start is Fall 2021.

Research responsibilities
The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Contribute to the development of protocols and guidance for local municipalities working with Indigenous governments and communities on coastal adaptation
  • Work with the research team to develop regional coastal management governance guidelines
  • Review and analyse colonial legislation, bylaws, policies and strategies related to floodplain management (and land- use planning) for the south coast of BC, and coastal flood adaptation management in the region from 2011 to present
  • Integrate outcomes generated through interviews with local staff, elected officials, government agency representatives and stakeholders to challenges and key policy drivers
  • Contribute to other aspects of the project including assisting with focus group sessions and participatory values mapping workshops
  • Contribute to the development of peer reviewed publications, white papers and technical reports
  • Present research ideas and findings in colloquia but also in local and regional conferences

Eligibility criteria:

  • Holds a master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., planning, geography, Indigenous studies, environmental studies, public policy, climate science, etc.)
  • Has a demonstrated trans-disciplinary approach to research on coastal adaptation of communities and ecosystems
  • Has knowledge of coastal communities in Canada including issues associated with coastal vulnerability, and marine-related social and economic activities, particularly across Canada
  • Has experience and interests in research collaborations with municipalities, First Nations, and professionals concerning the development of adaptation strategies
  • Knowledge and interest in Indigenous knowledges, worldviews and rights
  • Works well both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Has strong time management, organizational, and project management skills
  • Is able to communicate effectively with researchers in various disciplines and with non-academic members of governments, communities, and the private sector

Deadline for submission of application:
Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 5:00 pm. Please note reference letters are due by February 10th.

View full details, including information on the application process, here.

Dr. Maggie Low