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We have 20 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK)



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Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK)

We have 20 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK)

During a PhD in Behavioural Biology, you would have the opportunity to conduct research into the biology underpinning certain behaviours. Whether you’re investigating a link between a specific disease and behaviour or understanding how an environmental trigger affects the physiological response, you’ll most likely be in a laboratory for the majority of your work.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Behavioural Biology?

Studying a Behavioural Biology PhD, you’ll gain wide-ranging ability in the laboratory but also valuable experience working with participants – a skill that many other Biology-based PhD projects don’t involve. Since you’ll work with people directly, you’ll also develop a deep understanding of the ethical implications of your work and the studies conducted in the literature.

Some typical research topics in Behavioural Biology include:

  • Circadian rhythm and what affects this
  • The link between a specific disease and behaviour
  • The brain and communication
  • An animal’s brain and behaviour
  • Evolution of mechanisms in response to environmental pressure
  • How environment affects healthy systems e.g., the immune system

Generally, PhD programmes in Behavioural Biology are advertised with full funding attached. These are either three-year programmes or a four-year doctoral training programme. Since the project is advertised, the scope and key aim of the project is pre-determined by the supervisor, but you’ll shape the remainder of the project.

Proposing your own research in Behavioural Biology is uncommon as you must find a supervisor with research goals that align with yours, and that has the necessary equipment you’ll need. It can also be a headache finding adequate funding to cover bench fees alongside your PhD fees.

In a normal day, you’ll be in the laboratory performing experiments on samples or on participants, analysing past data, and talking though your results with your supervisor and colleagues. To be awarded your PhD, you’ll have significantly contributed to your field through a thesis of around 60,000 words and to have defended your work during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Behavioural Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in Behavioural Science, Biology, Zoology and Psychology with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Behavioural Science funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Behavioural Science PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Behavioural Science PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Effects of urbanisation on insect biodiversity

Urbanisation is among the greatest threats to existing biodiversity. Recent studies reveal a worldwide decline of arthropods, threatening the sustainment of essential ecosystem services such as pollination and food webs. Read more

White Rose BBSRC DTP: Compartmentalised synaptic plasticity underlying associative memory

If a neuron is connected to multiple partners, and it needs to change its connection strength with one partner but not the others, how does it do that? That is, what mechanisms underlie the specificity of synaptic plasticity?. Read more

White Rose BBSRC DTP: From engram to tomogram: the in situ structure of memory in the mammalian brain by cryo-electron tomography (cryoET)

Each memory in your brain is stored by a subset cells that are synaptically connected into a neuronal circuit, called an engram. Crucially, it is the molecular and cellular structure of the synaptic connections in this neuronal circuit that is necessary for storing long-term memories. Read more

White Rose BBSRC DTP: Could direct synaptic feedback from the Drosophila brain to its compound eye mediate the pop-out selective attention phenomenon in flies?

How does the brain tell the eye what to look at? It has been thought that selective attention occur at higher brain centres, but evolution might have tuned the neural networks of the whole nervous system collectively for attentive information processing by utilising feedback pathways to the sense organs and active sampling of the receptor cells. Read more

PhD Studentship - I2AM-BirD: Innovative Integration of Advanced Materials for Bird-tracking tag antenna Design

A rare opportunity for a mechanical/materials graduate engineer to advance the study of wild birds at a thriving modern university and alongside an international market leader in the design and manufacture of bird tracking devices, in the lovely south coast county of Dorset. . Read more

Conservation and behaviour of a threatened bird

The Southern Black-throated finch Poephila cincta cincta, is currently listed as endangered following a decline over more than 80% of its former range since the 1970’s, largely due to habitat loss and degradation. Read more

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