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PhD studentships in Biological Sciences and Geosciences (QUADRAT DTP)

PhD studentships in Biological Sciences and Geosciences (QUADRAT DTP)

Applications are invited for UKRI funded PhD studentships starting 1st October 2023

The deadline for applications is Friday 9th December 2022

QUADRAT DTP brings together two research and teaching centres of excellence in biological sciences and geosciences. The University of Aberdeen is a world class multidisciplinary research and training institution and Queen’s University Belfast is a Russell Group University with an international reputation for world class research.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with support from several partner organisations, QUADRAT DTP will provide outstanding students from the UK, EU and overseas with unrivalled opportunities to gain the skills and holistic understanding essential for the next generation of scientific leaders in academic, industry and policy development due to our unique geographic positions, unprecedented research and training infrastructure and strategic alliances of the two academic partners.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
PhD studentships in Biological Sciences and Geosciences (QUADRAT DTP)

Each year, we award approximately 20 studentships to exceptional students, providing funding to support Doctoral studies for PhD programmes. Our research themes of Biodiversity, Earth Systems and Environmental Management allow for an integration of both theoretical and applied projects capable of addressing the most significant environmental and societal challenges we face now and in the future. The QUADRAT DTP vision is to equip students with the skills, outlook, purpose and holistic understanding to lead, communicate and translate innovative cross-disciplinary research that meets the challenges associated with the effective management of the natural environment; and position our graduates as the next generation of scientific leaders in academia, industry and policy development.

Projects will be supervised by a team of academic staff in the following areas:

  • Biodiversity
  • Earth Systems
  • Environmental Management


QUADRAT studentships are open to UK nationals and international candidates (EU and non-EU) in the 2023/4 academic year. Funding for this programme will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only.

International students should note that we are only able to award a limited number of studentships to international applicants (including EU nationals). These full studentships for international applicants will only be awarded to exceptional quality applicants, due to the competitive nature of this scheme. Successful international candidates will receive a fee waiver for the difference between UK level and International Level tuition fees. International candidates are therefore not expected to fund this ‘fee gap’ themselves.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered providing they have a Distinction at Master’s level. Please note that a Masters degree is only required where the BSc grade is below a 2.1.

Fees and Funding

QUADRAT DTP students are funded for a minimum of 3.5 years (up to 7 years part-time), to start on 1st October 2023.

QUADRAT studentships are open to UK and overseas candidates. Funding covers:

  • A monthly stipend for accommodation and living costs, based on UKRI rates (currently £17,668 pa for 2022/23, updated annually)
  • Fees (home rate tuition fees and/or fee waiver for overseas fees, where applicable)
  • Research and Training Costs (£9,000)

QUADRAT funding does not cover visa costs, immigration health surcharge or any other costs associated with relocation to the UK. International candidates should ensure they are able to meet these costs, if successful, before applying to the DTP.

What to do next

For more information, please visit our website, or scroll down to view our available projects listed on FindAPhD. Candidates can apply for a maximum of 2 QUADRAT projects in the 2023/24 recruitment cycle.

Please visit our funding and eligibility and HOW TO APPLY webpages for full details before submitting your application.

We advise all applicants to contact and discuss the project content with the relevant project supervisor.

It is anticipated that shortlisted candidates will be called for interview between Monday 27th February and Friday 3rd March 2023. Interviews are expected to be conducted remotely via Microsoft Teams.

PhD studentships in Biological Sciences and Geosciences (QUADRAT DTP)

Available Projects

QUADRAT DTP CASE: Understanding the effects of climate change on nature’s undertakers (burying beetles) and the ecosystem services they provideDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Conservation implications of variation in reproductive traits among fragmented populations of tropical forest treesDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Impacts of anthropogenic environmental change on Southern Rockhopper Penguin demography and behaviourDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Insect fast food? Impact of urban areas on the dietary choices of insectsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Accessing the inaccessible: Defining marine connectivity and environmental history of sharks to aid conservation.Details
QUADRAT DTP: Biogeochemical cycling in paddy soils: Impact of climate-smart water managementDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Ecological and evolutionary processes associated with environmental change in microbial populationsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Evolution and consequences of mating systems for range dynamics and species’ responses to environmental changesDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Functional ‘omics for assessing resilience to environmental stress in the intertidal beadlet anemone Actinia equinaDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Genome-wide diversity and demographic history of relict island populations of rodentsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: How do host dynamics and environment impact infection patterns in fragmented host populations?Details
QUADRAT DTP: How does the holobiome respond to climate change? Discovering how microbe-host interactions promote or hinder natural range shifts in damselfliesDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Quantitative environmental risk assessment of binary and tertiary heavy metal mixtures in agricultural soilsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: The evolution of sociability in subsocial animalsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Unravelling the evolutionary and ecological drivers of parasite virulence to mitigate proliferative kidney disease emergence and spreadDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Unveiling the environmental and genetic drivers of continuous colour variation in the European sea lemon (Doris pseudoargus)Details
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Applications of Near Surface Geophysics to Forestry and ArboricultureDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Developing an Innovative System for Sustainable and Erosion Mitigation Sustainable Resilience to Coastal Erosion: A Demonstration Project for Coastal Golf CoursesDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Ice on Fire: exploring the relationship between glaciers and volcanoesDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Analysing past biodiversity in North-eastern Scotland using DNA metabarcoding and metagenomicsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Catastrophe or Opportunity? Investigation of the impact of Climatic events and changes on First Millennium AD Britain and IrelandDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Comparative glaciology: reconstructing glaciers on Earth and Mars to understand landscape evolution with respect to climate changeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Development of a land surface temperature index glacio-hydrological modelDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Did earthworms change the world? Investigating how animals and plants revolutionised carbon cycling in calcareous soils through deep timeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: How much of the wildfire record are we seeing in the fossil record?Details
QUADRAT DTP: Just how hot? Exploring the ability to quantitatively reconstruct post-fire intensityDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Pastoral Peripheries: Human-animal relationships and pastoral economies on the agricultural fringe of Late Iron Age/Early Medieval Northern EuropeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Supraglacial ponding in the Indian Himalaya: a population-scale spatiotemporal analysisDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Sustainable management of fresh groundwater resources in coastal East Africa – Using lessons from the past to build future resilience to climate and environmental changeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Testing the validity of emerging methods for reconstructing Late Holocene climate changes from peatlandsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: The future of irrigated agriculture in Europe’s mountainous regions; exploring trade-offs and synergies for climate adaptationDetails
QUADRAT DTP: The Low Enthalpy Geothermal Potential of Shallow Aquifers in Northern Ireland and Northern ScotlandDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Unearthing the secrets of hill-fort vitrification in early European historyDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Northern Ireland Soil Carbon Initiative (NiSCI) – Towards Carbon ZeroDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Biodegradable micro and nanoplastics as emerging environmental pollutantsDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: How multispecies grassland swards affect soil food web functioning and resilience in response to climate changeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Biological control of mosquitoes: optimising the efficacy of native macroinvertebrate predatorsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Determining Buffalo behaviour, movement, disease and energy costs to assist their management and conservationDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Identifying Environmental Factors for Soil Transmitted and Food Borne Helminth Diseases in Border Regions of Northern ThailandDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Multi-omics characterization of metabolic and signalling pathways involved in Harmful algal bloom toxin production - applicable for the development of diagnostic kitsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Post-weaning dispersal behaviour of fallow deer fawns: investigating the roles of behaviour, growth and stressDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Trees for flood mitigation in managed environmentsDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Trophic interactions and the ecology of emerging lungworm infections under global warmingDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Understanding and predicting the success of alien invasive freshwater fish worldwide and on the island of IrelandDetails
QUADRAT DTP CASE: Novel Assessment Tools for Wave Dampening by Marine and Coastal VegetationDetails
Quadrat DTP CASE: Soils as an effective carbon sink? Rates of carbon sequestration and long-term storage in soils across Northern IrelandDetails
QUADRAT DTP: A Late Glacial and Holocene tephrostratigraphy for AntarcticaDetails
Quadrat DTP: Arctic peatland response to climate change: carbon bomb or self-repair?Details
QUADRAT DTP: Enhanced rock weathering – solution or problem? Potential human health risks from Ni and Cr accumulation in soils following repeated amendment with basalt dustDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Human-Animal-Environmental Interactions at Late Medieval Religious Foundations in UlsterDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Resilience and Adaptation of the Northern Ireland Water Sector to Climate ChangeDetails
QUADRAT DTP: Understanding the controls on cyanobacteria blooms in Northern Ireland lakes: a palaeolimnological perspectiveDetails

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