Coal tip reclamation in Wales, past experiences and sustainable futures


An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Arts, Technology and Environment, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded by UWE Bristol and the Welsh Government.

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 April 2023

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2023

Studentship details

As part of Welsh Government’s Coal Tip Safety programme, the reclamation of coal tips has been identified as an area requiring considerable work in strategy development. Coal tip reclamation would prioritise public safety, however, the regeneration could offer potentially significant opportunities in numerous key policy areas (e.g. waste, energy, the environment, transport/travel, the economy) as well as added social benefits within affected communities.

Many coal tips in Wales have already been reclaimed as part of wider regeneration programmes. But there is a lack of evidence of what worked in terms of the long-term regeneration of coalfield areas. It is important that there is a greater understanding of the outcomes from previous regeneration programmes and the priorities of communities to inform future initiatives. 
The aim of this research is to explore the impact/s of previous coal tip reclamation and the related regeneration programmes on communities and the environment. A further aim is to understand how these findings, current Government priorities and the needs of communities can inform the future restoration of coal tips.

The objectives are:

  • To use the Welsh Government coal tip database and other documentation to understand the previous restoration practices in terms of resulting landforms, soil-forming materials, land use, water management, habitats and vegetation.
  • To use Census data from 1971 to 2021, along with these restoration practices, to explore their impact on health and economic outcomes in the Welsh coalfields.
  • To explore these outcomes and future priorities via in-depth case studies in four to six coalfield communities, selected to represent the variety of restoration practices and outcomes in Wales.
  • To work with Welsh Government, via a placement, to develop a suite of potential restoration strategies shaped by previous experience and current Government priorities.
  • To test the acceptability of these in case study communities.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Danielle Sinnett at or Andrew Tallon at


The studentship is available from 01 April 2023 for a period of three and half years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax-exempt stipend, which is currently £17,668 per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home). 


Applicants must have a good first degree and ideally will have a Masters in geography, environmental science, planning or a related discipline.

Being able to speak Welsh is desirable but not essential. However, the candidate must be willing to learn basic Welsh phrases and be comfortable with the pronunciation of Welsh place names.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-APR-CATE09

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal; all your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification is required.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.  

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 19 February 2023.

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on weeks commencing 20th February.  If you have not heard from us by 23 February, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

You may also be interested in