Surfing & Sustainability

Surfing 02 Student Life

This Research & Knowledge Exchange Doctoral Project brief summarises our priority areas of research interest under the heading of: Surfing & Sustainability.

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with and in response to this brief.

Project brief details

The natural beauty, and spectacle of surfing engages millions of people all over the world. Whilst not conclusive some figures put the number of surfers globally at over 35 million (O’Brien and Eddie, 2013; International Surfing Association, 2015) whilst those that engage with surfing culture through film, imagery or lifestyle-related products raises this figure exponentially.  This global engagement has created a multibillion-dollar industry. The ‘Surfing -Global Market Trajectory and Analysis’ report estimates that the global market for surfing currently estimated at US2.7 billion is estimated to increase to US3.1 billion by 2026 (Global Industry Analysts 2022).  Other estimates place this figure over US6 billion (SIMA 2023).  In the UK there are an estimated 500000 surfers which generate and estimated £1.8 billion in direct spend – with the majority of this spend on the counties of Devon and Cornwall (SAS 2013). 

And beyond the statistics surfing presents multiple areas of interest for academic study.  For example, realigning valuation to include natural capital and eco-system services, the relationship between culture and subculture, social inclusion, environmental impact, technological advancement, business innovation and development, global and regional impacts, tourism and development, engagement with nature and behavioural change,   health and wellbeing and more.  

Recognising that these areas are interconnected research has begun to coalesce within the broader context of surfing and sustainability (Borne 2018, Borne and Ponting 2017) where connections have been established on a transdisciplinary basis applying theoretical insights to policy and practical solutions based case studies.  

Expressions of interest are sought in any or multiple areas outlined above or any areas within this context that potential candidates would like to propose. Multiple methodological and theoretical approaches will be considered and novel and experimental perspectives are welcome.  Research proposals must sit within one or more of Cornwall Business Schools and Falmouth University research priorities. See table below. 

Strategic alignment

Projects deriving from this brief are expected to sit within the Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy and the following department.

Department Cornwall Business school

All successful research degree project proposals must emphasise a clear alignment between the project idea and our Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy. 

Project brief lead

Dr Greg Borne profile picture
Dr Greg Borne profile picture

Project Supervisor: Dr Greg Borne

Greg has over 20 years experience in researching, teaching and implementing multiple dimensions of sustainable development. He has worked with international organisations such as United Nations as well as organisations in business, government, education and the third sector.

Read more

How to apply

Apply for a Research MPhil or PhD

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with this Doctoral Project brief. ​To apply in response to this brief or learn about the application process click the button below.

Apply for a Research Degree
Students sit in a cafe


Project brief & project proposal enquiries

To discuss this project brief, ideas or project proposal responding to this brief, please contact: Dr Greg Borne.


Application enquiries

For all other application related enquires please contact the Research & Development team.


T01326 255831

Additional resources

Two women and a man seated at a desk with a laptop and print outs
Falmouth staff at table

Fund your Research Degree

See the options available to help you fund your research degree.

Fund your Research Degree
Students sat around a table in the AIR building
Students sat around table in AIR

Falmouth Doctoral Studentships

You can apply for a fully-funded Falmouth Doctoral Studentship as part of your research degree appli...

Falmouth Doctoral Studentships

Research & Knowledge Exchange

By stepping beyond disciplinary lines, harnessing creativity and working with communities, we delive...

Research & Knowledge Exchange
News_Make a Difference in Research: Workshop Success
Impact Training Workshop October 2013. Image courtesy of CommsConsult.

Doctoral Project Briefs

We invite MPhil and PhD project proposals that respond to a doctoral project brief.

Doctoral Project Briefs