Flooding is already the most destructive natural hazard that humanity faces and yet it will become even more challenging due to climate change, and other factors. All elements of society need to urgently come together and act to improve the way we manage this large and growing threat for all affected communities in the UK and around the world.


In line with our commitment to develop the next generation of world-leading research practitioners in flooding, the Centre for Doctoral Training for Resilient Flood Futures (FLOOD-CDT) aspires for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to be the core value of our rich community of doctoral researchers, staff and our government and industry partners from across the flood sector. Our CDT is deeply committed to developing a culture that is inclusive, supportive, positive, promotes respect and dignity, and to which all doctoral researchers, staff and partners can contribute and reach their full potential.


Advances in flood risk management cannot be solved by either natural scientists, engineers or social scientists alone. Instead, a multidisciplinary approach is needed that embraces the skills and experiences of a diverse and talented doctoral research cohort, and by valuing peer-to-peer exchange of learning. Our CDT recognises the importance of diverse perspectives, coming together to drive innovation in the flood sector. We strive to achieve this through institutional commitment and leadership, inclusive recruitment, training and placements, flexibility, diverse external partner engagement, impact and outreach, and monitoring, reporting and measuring success.


Institutional commitment and leadership

  • FLOOD-CDT is a collaborative partnership involving four UK universities and three research centres each of which has a strong commitment to EDI, its own central EDI teams, strategies and policies on recruitment and selection, dignity and respect, and flexible working arrangements. As a result, each of the CDT host partners will operate in accordance with the EDI strategies and policies of their respective institution. 
  • FLOOD-CDT will take a top-down approach to ensuring an inclusive doctoral training environment. Our CDT Director (Professor Ivan Haigh, University of Southampton) and Deputy-Director (Dr Jenny Brown, National Oceanography Centre) will operate as our EDI Champions. They have the responsibility to ensure that FLOOD-CDT adheres to EDI strategies and policies at each of the host partner institutions. 
  • Professor Haigh and Dr Brown will meet annually to undertake a detailed review and update of our EDI policy and action plan, before submitting it to the FLOOD-CDT Management Board for scrutiny and revision prior to approval. 



  • FLOOD-CDT is firmly committed to attracting applicants from as diverse a talent pool as possible. 
  • We will run virtual open days to introduce the CDT to potential applicants, explain the application, interview and selection process and answer any questions the applicants might have. 
  • All staff involved in the recruitment and selection will be required to complete Unconscious Bias training to minimise the impact of affinity bias. 
  • We will ensure gender representation on all our shortlisting and interview panels.
  • We will provide flexibility in scheduling interviews so that staff and applicants with caring responsibilities are able to participate. 
  • We understand that CVs and transcripts reflect applicant achievements, but also may reflect an applicant’s access to opportunities. Therefore, we aim to evaluate applicants based on potential, not just previous track record.
  • We will send shortlisted applicants a sub-set of the interview questions in advance along with guidance about what to expect at the interview. 
  • Interview panellists will be provided clear and comprehensive instructions to ensure that candidates are evaluated objectively and equitably, and interview responses are consistently scored using a well-defined rubric. 
  • The recruitment strategy will be adjusted each year to reflect lessons learned and best practice in how to continue to reach a broad and diverse audience. 



  • We believe all our doctoral researchers have a unique contribution to advancing understanding and management of flooding. Therefore, we want to equip them with the tools they need to produce excellent science and engage positively with academia, our external partners and to the wider population. It is out deep desire that our doctoral researchers go on to have successful careers in their chosen area. Therefore, our goal is to provide a unique, inspiring, training environment that develops a diverse cohort of research practitioners who will make a tangible difference to future flood management. 
  • Our trainers themselves bring diverse perspectives. Our training is delivered by academics, industry professionals, professional skills trainers and experts from different career stages, different backgrounds and different, and sometimes non-traditional career paths.
  • We understand that attending training can also be challenging for various practical reasons. Therefore, we strive to accommodate our doctoral researchers by supporting them financially with travel and accommodation they need to attend FLOOD-CDT organised training in person, with the aim of eliminating our doctoral researchers’ out-of-pocket costs as much as possible. 
  • We make every effort to ensure that all doctoral researchers can benefit from our training and residential trips. We will work to make sure nobody is excluded from these on the basis of parental/caring responsibilities, disability or other reasons. 
  • We strive to make sure that wherever possible, all FLOOD-CDT training has some online-accessible component, ranging from online delivery to hybrid events, to online hosting of training materials and resources. 
  • Our doctoral researchers are at the heart of all we do. Therefore, we openly and regularly encourage student feedback and are committed to act upon it. We want to create an environment where all doctoral researchers feel empowered to talk to us honestly about all aspects of their PhD, positive or negative. We want them to see us as allies in their personal development as scientists.  
  • We recognise that all doctoral researchers face challenges from time to time, and we seek to be proactive in supporting them. We have a dedicated CDT doctoral researcher voice and welfare lead (Gemma Coxon) who is the first point of contact. 
  • We will link our doctoral researchers with vibrant support networks, including, for example, the WiSET+ network (for women in academic disciplines), the Pulse LBGT+ Staff Network and the Disability Staff Network.
  • We will cultivate a FLOOD-CDT Mentoring Network that connects our doctoral researchers with academic and our external partners outside the University from relevant subject fields and career pathways.



  • We recognise that FLOOD-CDT doctoral researchers are at different life stages, shoulder various responsibilities alongside their research and training, and experience different health conditions. Therefore, it is our strong desire to offer flexibility to accommodate individual needs during their PhD journeys. 
  • In accordance with the UKRI’s Terms and Conditions for Training Grants, we ensures that provision is in place for all its doctoral researchers to access paid medical leave and maternity, paternity and adoption leave. 
  • We also offer all doctoral researchers the option to study for their PhD on either a full-time or part-time basis. If studying part-time, then a minimum of 50% of the full-time equivalent is required. 
  • All FLOOD-CDT doctoral researchers are provided with a Student Handbook which contains further information on all these areas, as well as many covering many other aspects of their time as a doctoral researcher with us.


External partner engagement, impact and outreach

  • FLOOD-CDT has exceptional buy-in from the flood sector. It was co-designed and is being co-delivered with a diverse group of around 40 partners representing a local authorities, national government, national organisations, water, energy and infrastructure companies, environmental, engineering and management consultancies, regulators, finance and (re)insurance companies, accreditation institutes, and charities, reaching across the UK and abroad. Within this diverse network of organisations, it is our aim to act as a catalyst to promote cultural change. 
  • Engagement events, including seminars and podcasts, will include targeted sessions from inspirational speakers from under-represented groups. 
  • Each of our doctoral researchers will have an opportunity to do a placement with their project partner(s), within 6 months of starting their programme. A flexible arrangement to suit each doctoral researchers according to their differing needs, as well as the needs of partners, will be considered. There will also be additional opportunities to undertake shorter placements, potentially with a different partner, towards the end of their PhD programmes.


Monitoring, reporting and measuring success

  • FLOOD-CDT will continually monitor the diversity profile of its annual doctoral researcher applications, shortlisted applicants, and selected cohort. This will allow us to review our processes and ensure that we create a diverse and inclusive CDT cohort. 
  • We will compare our intake to the Higher Education Statistics Agency benchmarking data and set ourselves the challenge to improve upon the national average year-on-year, particularly in relation to underrepresented groups. This will help to increase representation and promote diversity in the academic pipeline.