Case Studies

Sail to Steam, Carbon to Green: Empowering Port Communities in the Global South

Centre for Port Cities and Maritime Cultures at the University of Portsmouth

Grant Awarded: £635,000

Timeframe: 2024-2030



A £635,000 grant for a new project to learn lessons from past maritime energy transitions has been awarded to the Centre for Port Cities and Maritime Cultures at the University of Portsmouth.

The funding from Lloyd's Register Foundation builds on the Centre’s research into coastal communities and the international networks developed by the project team of Dr Melanie BassettDr Rudolph NgDr Karl Bell and Professor Brad Beaven.

Project Team UoP

The project team (left to right) of Dr Melanie Bassett, Dr Rudolph Ng, Professor Brad Beaven and Dr Karl Bell in front of HMS Warrior in Portsmouth.

Four PhD students and post-doctoral researchers will be recruited as part of the six-year project called ‘Sail to Steam, Carbon to Green: Empowering Port Communities in the Global South’. The doctoral programme will contribute to The Foundation’s Learning from the Past and Widening Participation in Maritime Heritage themes.

The project contrasts how coastal communities in the Global South were impacted by energy transitions from sail to steam in the 19th century, and how the move from fossil fuels to carbon-neutral shipping will impact the same communities today and in the future.

The students will explore how coastal communities have experienced technological, environmental and cultural change and what we can learn from the past to understand the challenges they face today. The first three-year phase of the project will focus on Macau in China and Callao in Peru.


The first two PhD scholarships will begin in October 2024 with two additional PhD scholarships starting in October 2027.

Find out more about the scholarships and how to apply at: