PhD studentship: Cats, cat owners and predation of wildlife

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Science

About the award The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2017, or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of £14,296 for 3 years. The student would be based in the Environment and Sustainability Institute and the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

Academic Supervisors: The project supervisors are Professors Robbie McDonald and David Hodgson.

Project Description: Full funding is available for a 3-year PhD studentship comprising fees, bursary and research expenses to investigate the ecology of predation by cats.

The studentship forms part of an innovative and exciting interdisciplinary project working with cat owners to jointly develop and assess means of reducing wildlife predation and mitigating the associated ecological, welfare, health and hygiene issues for cats and their owners.

The student will conduct ecological and behavioural research to implement trials, jointly developed with cat owners, that evaluate the mitigation of cat predation of wild animals. The work will involve working with wild animals, by monitoring behaviour, survival and assessing population characteristics, and working with cats, using tracking technologies, direct observation and other surveillance methods to assess behaviour and welfare.

The project supervisor is Professor Robbie McDonald (, who is a wildlife ecologist interested in interdisciplinary approaches to transforming conflict and controversy in wildlife conservation and management. The student will also work alongside a postdoctoral social scientist, who will lead human aspects of the project, while the PhD student will focus on biological aspects.

The student will join a large team of PhD students and research fellows working in Professor McDonald’s group, as well as a thriving postgraduate community in the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Centre for Ecology and Conservation on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

The project will suit a highly motivated ecologist/biologist with interests in wildlife conservation, animal behaviour and animal welfare. You should be interested in working at the interface of biological and social sciences, be comfortable working with cats and their owners and be skilled in ecological and field studies of small mammals and birds. You should be a graduate, with a first class degree or 2.1 in a relevant discipline. Experience of working successfully in partnership with other researchers and stakeholders is desirable, as is practical experience of working with cats, small mammals and/or birds. A full driving licence, or access to a suitable alternative means of transport, is essential.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 30 October 2016. Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Penryn Campus the week commencing 7 November 2016.

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South West England