Self-funded PhD opportunities

Improving Green Roof Sustainability with Soil Ecology

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: Department of Geography
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr H Rumble

Research Project Code - GEOG1261015

The Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth has a position for doctoral (phD) research available for three years (full-time) for a suitably qualified candidate to start in February or October 2016 (UK or EU students only). Applicants are invited to submit a research proposal in the area of ecology/environmental geography. 

Dr Heather Rumble (Lecturer in Urban Sustainability) (see is interested in supervising a student in the following research area: 

Improving Green Roof Sustainability with Soil Ecology - research in SE UK suggests that green roofs do not support a diverse range of soil fauna and microbes, potentially limiting their growing potential. This project aims to: 

  • Determine if this phenomenon is representative of green roofs across the UK 
  • Manipulate current green roof designs to facilitate long term survival of soil fauna and microbes 
  • Determine if improvements to green roof soil communities also improve habitat for above-ground organisms, such as bees and birds 
  • Manipulate soil organisms to improve plant growth 

There is also opportunity for a student to combine research interests in ecology with those in climate science (supervisor Dr Nick Pepin), to concentrate on research examining the physical properties of green roofs and how they create/modify microclimate spaces, with knock-on consequences for effective performance. 

Dr Rumble’s work is multi-disciplinary in nature. Applicants are therefore expected to engage with disciplines outside of ecology/environmental geography, including social science, civil engineering and biochemistry. 
Staff web pages also provide more information on individual research interests and the specific projects that staff members have recently undertaken The department also advertises research themes for Masters projects (MRes Science) – see the pdf for Geography under Course structure at 

Applicants for the PhD programme are expected to have a good first degree (minimum upper second class Honours degree or equivalent) and ideally a Masters (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area. Non-accredited research and skills training is available through the University-wide Graduate School. If you so wish, you may discuss your ideas informally with Dr Heather Rumble (tel: 023 9284 6540: e-mail: ) or email We will also be happy to answer any questions regarding the application process. 

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpage:

When applying please note the project code - GEOG1261015

Alternatively you may receive a hard copy by contacting the Faculty of Science, Postgraduate Admissions Office, St. Michael's Building, White Swan Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2DT. Tel: +44 (0)23 9284 5550. 

Funding Notes:

This is currently for self-funded applicants. Periodically, funded positions (including tuition and maintenance grant) become available, and when this is the case, the funded positions will be advertised on this website. For other applications (welcome at any time) tuition fees will be payable for three years, full-time study (£3,996 per year – UK and EU students only).