Self-funded PhD opportunities

Community-focused heritage regeneration: Developing a sustainable regeneration framework for historic industrial-military and associated residential heritage in southern England

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Ann Coats and Mr Stephen Neale

This research project aims to develop a specific framework to guide sustainable reuse of former industrial-military and associated residential property with a focus on southern England. A current Historic England framework is Portsmouth Hinterland Project Research Toolkit, which addresses development issues of semi-rural areas surrounding major cities. However, it omits the particular challenges affecting industrial-military and associated residential heritage of large industrial-military sites such as dockyards, and fails to incorporate more inclusive approaches to the vital issues of how communities make meanings, memories and associations with industrial-military sites. Frequent impacts on the reuse of industrial-military and neighbourhood residential heritage include undervalued cultural significance, physical site and security constraints, student housing issues, poor maintenance, integration of modern services, ‘at risk’ designations, access to funding and resources and depressed land values which deter innovative developers. Opportunities include attracting visitors, boosting the local economy, promoting community cohesion, volunteering, employment opportunities and skills development.

Such research is vital because these issues threaten the sustainability of distinctive historic communities which give an attractive unique character to neighbourhoods, without which they become bland and featureless.

The design and methodology of this research progresses through five stages to integrate an in-depth understanding of the cultural significance of the region’s particular industrial-military and nearby residential heritage within a framework which classifies issues and stimulates opportunities. The first stage comprises background studies on existing national and international examples of best practice within heritage assessment frameworks and guidance for reuse of heritage sites and the benefits to local communities. Secondly, data will be collected through site visits, interviews with a wide range of stakeholders and community consultation workshops and focus groups. Through analysis and synthesis of this research data the applicant will then propose an assessment framework to guide future conservation planning for the reuse of former industrial-military and neighbourhood residential heritage in the region. Finally, the framework will be tested with reference to case studies of current industrial-military and residential heritage through processes of consultation with stakeholder groups.



Dr Ann Coats

Mr Stephen Neale


Admissions criteria

The project requires a candidate with a suitable honours degree (or equivalent) in Heritage, History, Civil Engineering, Surveying or a related subject, and a desire to excel as a researcher, together with disciplined work habits. An appropriate MSc/MA/MPhil/MEng degree is desirable. This project is suitable for both home/EU and or International students.

The successful applicant will become part of a dynamic research team within the Sustainable Cities Cluster in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, where we have considerable expertise in heritage property and building futures, supported by the University research themes of Inclusive Communities, Culture and Heritage, Sustainability and the Environment.

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0. 

Specific candidate requirements:  None



Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Ann Coats ( (02392842930) or Mr Stephen Neale ( (02392842915). 

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact


How to Apply 

You can apply online here.  You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at here.