Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Project code


Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD project studying Community-focused Heritage Regeneration, supervised by Dr Ann Coats and Mr Stephen Neale. This project will last for 3 years if undertaken on a full-time basis, and 6 years on a part-time basis.

This research project aims to develop a 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 the Portsmouth Hinterland Project Research Toolkit, which addresses the 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.

The work will include:

  • attracting visitors
  • boosting the local economy
  • promoting community cohesion
  • volunteering
  • employment opportunities
  • skills development

This research is vital because of the current threat to the sustainability of distinctive historic communities. The design and methodology of this research progresses through five stages, integrating an in-depth understanding of the cultural significance of the region’s particular industrial-military and nearby residential heritage, within a framework which identifies and opportunities.

The first stage comprises of background studies on existing national and international examples of best practice within heritage assessment frameworks, as well as 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.

Fees and Funding

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan

Community-focused Heritage Regeneration Entry Requirements Accordian Panel

  • 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
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0

  • 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

To make an enquiry about this project, please contact Dr Ann Coats by email or call +44 (0)23 9284 2930, or contact Mr Stephen Neale by email or call +44 (0)23 9284 2915, quoting both the project code and the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. 

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now