Vacancies: early career opportunities to join the Tomorrow's Cities team

Challenge-led research

Tomorrow’s Cities is the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urban Disaster Risk Hub – a five-year global interdisciplinary research hub. We are one of 12 UKRI GCRF Hubs aimed at tackling intractable global development challenges, funded as part of the UK AID strategy to put research at the heart of efforts to deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

During our research inception period (2019-2021) we will be recruiting 15 UK-based PhD positions, a large number of Postdoctoral Research Associates (based within the UK and our four focal cities), and two operations team members to join our interdisciplinary, impact-focused and multi-cultural community.

  • Intern, African Centre for Technology Studies (Nairobi). Looking at community engagement and gender.
  • Research Assistant, African Centre for Technology Studies (Nairobi). Looking at database management and analysis.
  • 5 Research Fellow positions, African Centre for Technology Studies (Nairobi). Looking at gender, policy, flood modelling, fire modelling and community resilience planning.
  • Research Associate, University of Edinburgh. Looking at passive seismology for site characterisation and seismic hazard evaluation.
  • Research Associate, University of Bristol. The successful applicant will be responsible for arranging and conducting qualitative interviews, prepare and analyse data, and contribute to cross-case learning.
  • CLOSED: Communications Specialist, University of Edinburgh. This role will provide communication oversight for the Hub, including setting in place a robust communications strategy and plan, and support operational activities.
  • CLOSED: Communications and Knowledge Exchange Specialist, University of Edinburgh. This role will set in place a robust communications and knowledge exchange strategy and plan, and will support and deliver communication, engagement and operational activities across the Hub.  
  • CLOSED: Monitoring, Reporting and Information Specialist, University of Edinburgh. This role will set in place a robust Monitoring & Reporting framework which supports strategy, impact, and high-quality programming, and will manage information across the Hub. 
  • CLOSED: Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia. The successful applicant will contribute to the conceptualisation, execution and analysis of novel processes to understand how communities cope with and contextualise multiple hazards and risk, particularly in Quito, Ecuador.

Please contact for further information.


Globally, more than 2 billion people living in cities are exposed to disasters from multiple hazards, which threaten the cyclical destruction of their lives and livelihoods. Rapid urbanisation can exacerbate these vulnerabilities, presenting a major challenge to sustainable and inclusive development. But it also presents a major opportunity: with ~60% of the global area expected to be urban by 2030 yet to be built, we can reduce disaster risk by design. Our mission is to turn this opportunity into reality for the poor in tomorrow’s cities.

To achieve this, we aim to catalyse a transition from a culture of crisis management to one of multi-hazard risk-informed planning and decision-making that strengthens the voice and capacity of the urban poor. We will facilitate integrated, inclusive and informed decision support for risk-sensitive urban development, across city and community levels in four focal cities: Kathmandu, Istanbul, Nairobi and Quito. Our research is designed collaboratively with vulnerable communities, community leaders, and city and national agencies, and aims to generate improved data, understanding, capacity and institutional contexts to enable a transition.

Joining our community 

Intractable development challenges demand new ways of thinking and working – often highly interdisciplinary, participatory and embracing of real-world complexities. This challenge-led approach represents the cutting-edge of the research-policy-practice interface, placing our success in the hands of our collective ability to learn and adapt in response to deep uncertainties and emerging trade-offs. The people that we work with – their diversity, ingenuity and desire to collaborate – are therefore our greatest asset.

We are seeking to build a community of next-generation researchers to support our highly innovative and ambitious programme of work. New PhD and postdoc positions are being created that provide space for learning and development within a dynamic and multi-cultural environment. Researchers will be embedded within interdisciplinary clusters that interface with professional support and impact staff, and connected to city-led collaborations of researchers, decision-makers and communities. There will be frequent opportunities for international travel for conferences, workshops and extended research visits.