Economic and Socio-cultural implications of offshore wind on fishing communities

Research projects

Project Description:

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year and will continue their PhD research at University of Hull.

Watch our short video to hear from Aura CDT students, academics and industry partners:

The Project

Offshore wind (OSW) energy facilities have been operating in Europe for 20 years with large scale developments now also being progressed in North America. Existing knowledge of the impact of wind energy on fisheries is mainly focused on ecological and environmental impacts. There is limited understanding of how the development of OSW is affected by consideration and interactions with fisheries. As OSW energy expands, there is also a clear knowledge gap surrounding economic and socio-cultural impacts on fishing behaviour, fishing communities and coastal economies. In the North Sea, particularly, space is becoming limited and there is a need for greater understanding of the cumulative impacts of OSW developments on different fisheries at a local and seascape scales. Assessments of the wider socio-economic impacts of planning are crucial for sustainable co-location of OSW energy and fisheries.

Part of the costs to OSW developers relate to the licensing requirements and potential mitigation and/or compensation to fisheries. Different fisheries are at different stages of interaction with OSW developments and some fisheries have received financial compensation for loss of earnings and opportunities as a result of OSW. However, the impact of the requirement for compensation on the planning, construction and operational processes and decommissioning of OSW is poorly understood. A further knowledge gap is the impact of compensation by OSW developers on fisheries, as compensation can have both positive and negative effects. For example, previous research has shown that fishers have recognised benefits gained by one group of fishers might represent a cost to another group by simply displacing the problem elsewhere. It is becoming clear that displacement of fishing activity is also leading to fishers displaced onto already fished areas and there is some evidence to suggest that compensation is leading to fishers investing in more gear and larger vessels.

Aim: To better understand the economic and socio-cultural interactions between OSW and fisheries


  1. Identify the social and economic impacts of OSW on different fisheries
  2. Understand the perceptions of OSW developers of OSW and fisheries interactions
  3. Identify why and how compensation varies across different fisheries
  4. Identify the potential positive and negative impacts of compensation from OSW developments to fisheries.


For more information visit If you have a direct question about the project, you may email or the project supervisor.


Training and Skills

The student will receive training in NVivo, R and spatial mapping software to analyse and visualise large social science data sets. Further knowledge and skills will be developed through attending ICES Working Group Meetings (OSW Development & Fisheries) which the supervisory panel currently attend. This is new and exciting field of research and this project will provide the student with a deep understanding of both OSW and fisheries having applicability to careers in both of these industries. In addition the skills and knowledge are highly sought after by government, marine management organisations and academia, and are of both national and international interest.


Entry requirements

This PhD research project is suitable for applicants with a background in Environmental Sciences, Geography, Management and Business Studies or Psychology. If you have received a First-class Honours degree OR a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters OR a Distinction in a Masters Degree, with any Undergraduate Degree, in one of the above subjects, (or the international equivalents,) we would like to hear from you. Experience in social science methodologies, understanding of fisheries and/or marine spatial planning would be desirable.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill.



The Aura CDT is funded by the EPSRC and NERC, allowing us to provide scholarships that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £17,668 per annum at 2022/23 rates (subject to progress).



Research Council funding for postgraduate research has residence requirements. Our Aura CDT scholarships are available to Home (UK) Students. To be considered a Home student, and therefore eligible for a full award, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education). For full eligibility information, please refer to the EPSRC website. Please note, we have already allocated all our places for International Students to this cohort, so please do not apply unless you are a Home student.


How to apply

Recruitment is open until 16 April 2023 for Aura CDT PhD Scholarships beginning study in September 2023.

Applications are made via the University of Hull admissions system.

If you have not applied with the University of Hull before, you will need to set up an account to enable you to track the progress of your application and upload supporting documents.

With your application, you need to upload copies of the following supporting evidence:

  • complete transcripts (and final degree certificate(s) where possible). If your qualification documents are not in English, you will need to supply copies of your original language documents as well as their official translation into English.
  • A completed Supplementary Application Form (please upload when asked to add Personal Statement).

Guidance on completing your Supplementary Application Form: The Aura Centre for Doctoral Training is committed to generating a diverse and inclusive training programme. As part of our inclusive practices, the Centre adopts a process of assessing applications purely based on skills and attributes and does not consider any personal details. As such we ask applicants to remove any personal details from the Supplementary Form which is used by the Panel to assess and select applicants for interview. The form asks for details of your education, training and employment history as well as some specific questions about your motivations and research experience and interests. It is very important that you do not include any personally identifying information.

Applicants must:

Remove all personal references in their application. Specifically, do not include the following details: Names, age, country, sex, gender, religion, disability, race, sexual orientation

Complete all sections of the form in font and size Calibri 11pt

Indicate your interest in applying to a maximum of two Research Projects (you may apply for one or two, but no more than two)

Once fully completed, you should upload the form when asked for your Personal Statement, as part of your application through the University of Hull student application portal using the links below. (You will also be asked for your degree transcripts during the application process). Please do not send your form directly to the Aura CDT.


Application links:

Apply for a full-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.

Apply for a part-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.


View our webinar recording from 29 November
for information on our 2023 PhD Scholarships

For enquiries, contact