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PhD Studentship: Adaptive Management Strategies of Amenity Grasslands for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Newcastle University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: 100% Home fees covered, and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023/24 UKRI rate); additional consumable funds of £3,700 pa are provided for this project
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 26th January 2024
Closes: 23rd February 2024
Reference: SNES283

Award Summary

100% Home fees covered, and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023/24 UKRI rate). Additional consumable funds of £3,700 pa are provided for this project. 

Overview

Recreational and amenity land provides important green space for people but can be poor for biodiversity. Frequent mowing regimes by local authorities have left many areas of amenity grassland thin and compacted, with low botanical diversity. Changes to mowing regimes could significantly improve biodiversity on the one hand, but public perception is often that land not intensively managed is uncared for.  

Northumberland County Council (NCC) currently manages 300 ha of amenity grassland and is seeking to improve biodiversity in these habitats, whilst taking into account the operational and logistical constraints of mowing management and the uncertainties of climate change. In collaboration with Newcastle University, this exciting interdisciplinary project will examine the social, economic and ecological impacts of changing mowing regimes across Northumberland, with four interlinked objectives:  

OBJ. 1: Identify the current extent and condition of recreational and amenity land managed by NCC using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 

OBJ. 2: Review best practice management methods for temperate amenity grassland, with a focus of mowing machinery and frequency of cutting. 

OBJ. 3: Experimentally test the impacts of mowing management on plant-pollinator networks, soil health and other biodiversity. 

OBJ 4: Explore public uses of amenity grasslands and perceptions of different management options. 

Number Of Awards: 1

Start Date: April 2024

Award Duration: 3.5 years

Application Closing Date: 23rd February 2024

Sponsor

Northumberland Country Council (NCC) & School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, (SNES) Newcastle University 

Supervisors

Prof. Darren Evans (SNES) 

Dr. Helen Adamson (SNES) 

Dr. Amy Proctor (SNES) 

Mr. Greg Gavin (NCC) 

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a minimum 2:1 Honours degree or international equivalent in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences or similar.  

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.  

The studentship covers fees at the Home rate (UK and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status and meet the residency criteria). International applicants are welcome to apply but will be required to cover the difference between Home and International fees. 

International applicants may require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’. 

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study: 

  • Select 2023 as the Year of Entry for an April 2024 start 
  • Search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code:8020F 
  • Research area Environmental Science 
  • Select PhD Biology (Full-Time) as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section: 

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form 
  • The studentship code SNES283 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field 
  • When prompted regarding your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.   

In the ‘Supporting Documentation’ section please upload: 

  • your CV 

Contact Details: darren.evans@newcastle.ac.uk 

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