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PhD Studentship in Ecological Economics

University of Reading - School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Reading
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Funding covers full tuition fees plus UKRI stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th September 2021
Closes: 15th October 2021

Project title: Measuring the economic value of pollinators to European food systems

Department/School: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

Supervisors:  Dr Tom Breeze, Prof Simon Potts

Project Overview: Pollination by bees and other insects underpins billions of pounds of global crop production. Losses of pollinators threaten the livelihoods and health of people across Europe. A major new EU project- SAFEGUARD (Safeguarding European Pollination Services) - aims to expand our understanding of the pressures facing pollinators across Europe and the impacts that pollinators have on human society.

This fully funded 3.5-year PhD will be integrated into the wider SAFEGUARD project. The successful candidate will work with the project team to i) develop and test new methods to value pollinators found within habitats in key European landscapes, ii) using these models, explore the economic impacts that different pressures (e.g. pesticides) and management (e.g. planting flower margins) will have on European landscapes and iii) examine what effects changes in pollinators would have on food supply chains and what this would mean for consumers and businesses. The project will work with information collected by the SAFEGUARD team and supplied from other collaborators and will be part of a wider community of PhD researchers within the project. 

The studentship will be based at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading (ranked 12th in the world for agriculture) which has a strong track record in innovative research and developing outputs informing policy and practice. The successful candidate will receive training and support in ecology, economics and modelling tailored to their specific needs and access to state-of-the-art research facilities. This is one of several PhD studentships supported by the SAFEGUARD project and the student will have the opportunity to interact with many of Europe’s leading scientists working on pollinator biodiversity and economic valuation. 

The ideal candidate will i) have a strong background in either spatial modelling or micro-economics, ii) be enthusiastic about research that crosses disciplines and iii) able to work as part of a larger, international team. The successful candidate will be given all appropriate training necessary to complete the project and is not expected to have all skills to start. 

The studentship is open to UK residents only.

More information on SAFEGUARD can be found here:


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree or equivalent in Economics, Geography or Ecology
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK applicants.

Funding Details:   

  • Starts: January 2022
  • 2021 year award
  • Funding covers full tuition fees plus UKRI stipend

How to apply: 

Please send a 1 page cover letter and 2 page CV to Dr Tom Breeze ( Interviews will be held on the week commencing 25th October 2021 and the studentship will start in January 2022. The studentship is open to UK residents only.

Application Deadline: October 15th 2021

Further Enquiries:  

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

For further details please contact Tom Breeze

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