Case study

Climate-change PhD making a difference at home

Daniel Koomson came to Derby to research a topic close to his heart – his home town. More specifically, he has been exploring how the coastal fishing communities around Winneba in Ghana are being affected by climate change.

Addressing vulnerability

The coastal area around Winneba is low-lying, with lagoons and sand barriers. Sea-level rises and erosion can have a big impact in these areas.

Daniel’s PhD looked at the vulnerability of the coastal fishing communities to climate change – and other stressors – and the capacity of these communities to adapt. He completed his work this summer.

He says: "The research topic offered an exciting and a much-desired opportunity to explore a subject and a research area of much personal interest to me. The last three years studying in Derby has been the most challenging and yet the most rewarding part of my career."

Daniel worked closely with Dr Sian Davies-Vollum and Dr Deb Raha on his research. He says: “From the beginning to the end, my supervisors were exceptionally supportive in providing both academic and pastoral assistance. Having completed almost all my research remotely, the library and ICT were very helpful when I needed them.”

Tackling climate change

Daniel Koomson outside a building in Ghana

View tackling climate change video transcript

Feeling connected

Despite carrying out much of his work remotely, Daniel was able to:

And complete his thesis.

He says: “This is through the incredible support of my supervisors, family and friends, and the opportunities the University offered.”

Daniel was also instrumental in getting running water piped to the local school in the communities in which he was working. After graduating, he hopes to continue his career in academic research.