PhD Studentship: Bridging the Value Action Gap: Measuring and Improving Conservation Behaviours for Human and Nature’s Well-being

University of Derby

Human Sciences Research Centre and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (College of Life and Natural Sciences), University of Derby

Location: University of Derby, Kedleston Road campus

About the studentship:
Applications are invited for a full-time PhD studentship commencing May 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. If granted the PhD studentship, subject to the interview process, and following satisfactory progress, you will receive £14,553 p.a. for three years and your fees will be fully covered at a UK/EU level. If your application is successful and you are assessed as Overseas for fees purposes, you will need to pay the difference between the Home/EU fees and the Overseas fees. Funding will be awarded for a period of up to three years subject to satisfactory progress.

About the research topic:
Working closely with The Wildlife Trusts, the project will develop a scale to measure conservation-related behaviours grounded in ecological impact and bridge the ‘value-action’ gap by moving beyond rationalistic campaign models to cognitive science research that can show the primary role emotions have in changing attitudes and motivating action.

The project will involve a theoretical understanding of the cognitive and behavioural explanations of conservation behaviour (e.g. dual process theory, charitable decision-making) in order to test how developing an emotional connection to nature relates to conservation related attitudes, behaviours and pro-nature actions. The successful student will also work with The Wildlife Trusts to test effective messaging and interventions for turning increased nature connection into pro-conservation behaviour. There is also an aim to test whether bridging the gap to prompt pro-conservation actions also brings human well-being benefits.

Further information about the research environment and supervisory package
This is a collaborative study between academic staff from the University of Derby UK, and staff at The Wildlife Trusts head office in Newark. The project will be based in Derby, but there will be a need for some travel to Newark and other Wildlife Trust sites. You will be supervised by Dr Miles Richardson, Dr Ed Stupple and Associate Prof. Michael Sweet from the University of Derby. Dr Andrew Ramsey will also act as an advisor.

We will ensure that you have the required training necessary for you to complete your PhD and encourage you to attend at least one international or national conference associated with the above research topic during your studentship.

Please see the staff profiles or email the Director of Studies for more information related to this project. Dr Miles Richardson, email:

We are looking for a highly-motivated graduate student who is capable of studying at PhD level and enjoys both independent and applied collaborative research. Prospective candidates are also expected to have a good Honours degree. An interest in the research topic and expertise in psychology is essential, with combined knowledge in conservation ecology being useful, although not essential.

How to apply:
For information about how to apply, please visit:

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Miles Richardson, email:

Interviews: 20 April 2018

This studentship is funded by the University of Derby as part of the CLANS REF investment bid.

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Midlands of England