Recruiting PhDs

Join Coastlines & People Project on Equity in Government Decision-making for Flood Risk Reduction

Dr. Siders is recruiting for a fully-funded doctoral position as part of an NSF Coastlines and People (CoPe) project at the University of Delaware: Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity, and Resilience (CHEER). The student will join a diverse team of faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students from a dozen universities, with opportunities for co-advising and near-peer mentoring. The student will join the “government” team within the CHEER project, where we will explore how different levels of government (local, state, and federal) make decisions about hurricane and flood risk reduction measures, and how the three levels interact. Our work will focus specifically on equity and fairness and how different decision-makers think about, operationalize, and integrate equity into their decision-making processes.

Find more details on the project, your roles, and how to apply below.

THE CHEER HUB - 8 PostDocs & 17 PhD Positions

Community resilience to hurricane wind and flood damage remains challenging to achieve in practice, especially when also considering the issues of equity and economic prosperity, and particularly in the context of climate change. The National Science Foundation-funded Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity, and Resilience (CHEER) Hub has been established to address this challenge. We are now seeking post-docs, graduate student researchers, and undergraduate summer scholars to join this interdisciplinary, multi-university, multi-year project. For more about the project see our press release or the NSF abstract. Learn more about the team and other openings at http://cheer-hub.org.


The CHEER Hub is hiring 8 postdocs and 17 doctoral students. These researchers will form a cohort who will have a comprehensive, research-based, professional development and mentoring plan.

  • Work closely with your faculty mentors to develop and apply your discipline-based knowledge to the overall research project,

  • Work on cross-disciplinary research teams of students, post-docs, and faculty researchers.

  • Participate in professional development programs customized to meet your individual development plan objectives

  • Establish networks within a cohort of students and postdocs from different disciplines and across the country. These collaborative relationships will be developed through peer learning, collective projects, and peer research support linked to the Hub project.

  • Have opportunities to engage with communities and practitioner partners in the case study locations of eastern North Carolina, Port Arthur, Texas, and Houston, Texas. These partnerships will inform the research and ensure its products address the interests and needs of the communities.


For more information about specific opportunities, email the appropriate faculty member below. For general questions, email cheer-hub@udel.edu.

Postdocs (8 positions available)

Atmospheric sciences Stony Brook University Prof. Brian Colle

Civil engineering University of Delaware Prof. Rachel Davidson

Civil engineering UCLA Prof. Ertugrul Taciroglu

Civil engineering Cornell University Prof. Linda Nozick

Civil engineering University of Florida Prof. David Prevatt

Civil engineering University of Oklahoma Prof. Randall Kolar

Public policy University of Delaware co-advised by Prof. A. R. Siders and Prof. Joseph Trainor

Sociology University of Delaware Prof. Sarah DeYoung

PhD students (17 positions available) Starting Jan 2023 or Fall 2023

Atmospheric sciences Stony Brook University Prof. Brian Colle

Civil engineering University of Delaware Prof. Rachel Davidson

Civil & coastal engineering University of Florida Prof. David O. Prevatt

Civil engineering University of Oklahoma Prof. Randall Kolar

Civil engineering University of Delaware Prof. Shangjia Dong

Coastal oceanography University of North Carolina Dr. Brian Blanton

Economics Boston University Prof. Ian Sue Wing

Economics East Carolina University Prof. Meghan Millea

Geospatial Data Science Boston University Prof. Christoph Nolte

Program evaluation NC State University Dr. Lindsey McGowen

Public policy University of Delaware Prof. A. R. Siders

Public policy University of Delaware Prof. Joseph Trainor

Sociology University of Delaware Prof. Sarah DeYoung

Coastal Mgt & Science Texas A&M, Galveston Dr. Kayode Atoba

You + the Program

Details on the PhD position with Siders (for other openings, please contact the researcher listed above).

The ideal candidate will have a masters’ degree or equivalent (e.g., JD) in public policy, law, geography, environmental policy or a related discipline. Familiarity with interviews or legal or policy document analysis is desired. Self-motivation and independence are also key. Students will work with faculty and researchers across numerous disciplines, including engineering, sociology, economics, and disaster science, so an ability to communicate across disciplines is desired. Students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives are encouraged to apply, as are first-generation students, students of color, women and non-gender binary students, and students from other underrepresented groups. To learn more about Dr. Siders’ advising style, see this document.

Candidates may apply to any of the following doctoral programs at the University of Delaware: Disaster Science and Management, Public Policy and Administration, Energy and Environmental Policy (all in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration), or Geography (in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment) depending on their background and career goals.

The researchers will join Dr. Siders' Adaptation Lab and have opportunities to work on cross-campus initiatives through the Disaster Research Center - the first center in the world dedicated to the social scientific study of disasters - and the Mangone Climate Change Science and Policy Hub - the University of Delaware's new university-wide collaborative focused on climate change.

To Apply

Candidates are expected to have:

  • A master's degree with a thesis or equivalent research experience in a relevant field (e.g., JD - Siders has a JD and encourages students on this path)

  • Excellent writing and communication skills in English

  • Deep intrinsic motivation to conduct rigorous scientific research on climate adaptation and/or flood management

  • Demonstrated familiarity with social science methods (e.g., interviews, content analysis, legal studies, process tracing, spatial analyses) is an asset

  • Read Dr. Siders' advising expectations document


Option 1: Interested candidates may apply directly to any of the doctoral programs listed above -- Disaster Science and Management, Public Policy and Administration, Energy and Environmental Policy (all in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration), or Geography (in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment). The priority application deadline is December 15th. If you choose to apply without contacting Dr. Siders first, please email siders[at]udel.edu with the subject "COPE PhD Application Submitted" and tell me which program you applied to so I am sure to review your materials and provide input to the appropriate admissions committee.

Option 2: Interested candidates may contact Dr. Siders before applying to one of the doctoral programs above. This is encouraged. All candidates will eventually be required to apply to one of the programs, as final admission decisions are made by admissions committees. Candidates interested in speaking with Dr. Siders before applying should please send the following materials as a single PDF with the subject line "COPE PhD Application" to siders[at]udel.edu no later than November 15th (and sooner is better):

  • a cover letter that describes your research interests, why you are pursuing a PhD, your research experience, any leadership experience, and a description of a time that you needed to learn something new (outside of class) and how you approached that

  • CV / resume

  • names and email addresses of two possible references (you will need 3 letters for your formal application to UD, but for the initial conversation, I just need names and contact information)

I will do my best to respond to every email I receive. However, due to the volume of applications, I may not respond in every case. Please note the discipline of this project (and consider applying to another CHEER position as listed above if you are interested in engineering or flood modeling) and the requirement for applicants to hold a master's degree or be in the process of earning a master's degree or equivalent (i.e., the degree must be completed before starting at UD).