Dear colleagues,
I am seeking two PhD students to join my coastal research group in the Department of Ocean Engineering at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in 2024. Start in Spring or Fall 2024, with a set start date no later than Fall 2024. We welcome motivated students to join us in our pursuit of exploring nature-based solutions for coastal challenges. 
About us: The research group, led by Dr. Che-Wei Chang [Google Scholar | ResearchGate] at URI, is currently focused on nature-based solutions (natural and nature-based features), exploring their potential to mitigate coastal hazards and enhance resilience. We address these research challenges from different perspectives and scales, employing a variety of research tools that include laboratory experiments, numerical modeling, and theoretical approaches.

Potential Research Topics:
Centering around nature-based solutions (NBS), we provide a diverse range of possibilities for students to engage in laboratory experiments and numerical modeling that can be tailored to their interests and expertise. The research topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Effectiveness of NBS (e.g., vegetation) on coastal inundation and flood mitigation in response to rising sea levels
  • Impacts of NBS on sediment transport and coastal morphodynamics, especially in extreme weather conditions
  • Synergy of hybrid approaches with NBS integration for coastal resilience
  • Laboratory/numerical investigation of complex interactions among coastal elements (e.g., waves, currents, vegetation, sediments, infrastructure)

Required Qualifications:

  • A graduate or undergraduate degree in Ocean/Coastal/Civil/Mechanical Engineering or related fields (e.g., Physical Oceanography, Earth/Marine Sciences, Applied Mathematics, Physics, etc.)
  • Strong technical writing and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative team environment

Preferred Background and Skills

  • Strong knowledge base in water wave theory, fluid mechanics, or coastal engineering. 
  • Familiarity with programming languages like MATLAB, Python, Fortran, or others.
  • Research experience in one of the relevant areas, e.g., (1) Lab experiments and data analysis, (2) Ocean wave modeling, (3) Hydro-morphodynamic modeling, or (4) CFD 

Contactinfo:Interested candidates should contact Dr. Chang via e-mail at []:

  • Subject line: “URI Prospective Graduate Student: [Your Name]”
  • A CV, highlighting your skills, academic accomplishments, publications, contact info for references, etc.
  • A copy of transcripts reflecting your coursework
  • A brief statement outlining your motivation, research interests, qualifications, and prior research experiences 

The selected applicants will need to submit formal applications to the graduate school of the university ( Application reviews will continue until the positions are filled. The successful applicants will enroll in the Department of Ocean Engineering at URI with full financial support. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or require further information. 
We are firmly committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in science and engineering fields. We encourage applications from individuals belonging to historically underrepresented groups in these fields.

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