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  PhD Scholarships: Tackling Challenges of Environmental and Human Health – A Behavioural Science Approach


  Institute of Advanced Studies

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 Monday, March 25, 2024
 Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

About the Programme

Modern societies face various challenges of environmental and human health, which require an in-depth exploration of overarching themes. These include climate change, energy consumption, sustainable transport, waste management, pollution, obesity, sedentary behaviour and physical activity, infection control behaviours, and the interplay of environmental conditions with health behaviours. Our interdisciplinary research cluster strategically adopts a social-science perspective to unravel the complexities shaped by human behaviours, cultural norms, and social structures in addressing these challenges.

Our cluster is composed of researchers with a collective background in Behavioural Science, an approach that is grounded in the nuanced comprehension of human behaviour. This understanding is pivotal for crafting effective policies and behaviourally informed interventions that address real-world problems. We derive insights from our human-judgement and decision-making research to illuminate strategies that promote sustainable practices and improve environmental and public-health outcomes and policymaking. 

Methodological and theoretical training will be across disciplines (including Economics, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences) and will develop quantitative and qualitative skills and a theoretical understanding that aims to prepare the future behavioural scientist for academic and non-academic roles. 

We welcome applications for PhD studentships across the following research themes:

  • Environmental Behaviour (E.g., climate change, societal support for net-zero policies, energy use, investment in energy efficiency, transport use, pollution, impact of single-use products)
  • Behavioural Health (E.g., physical activity and active travel, health-behaviour change, self-management of long-term conditions, occupational health including workplace initiatives, pandemic responses)

We also encourage project proposals that combine these two themes (E.g., the impact of single-use products on human and environmental health, or increasing physical activity and active travel to benefit human and environmental health.

Sample projects 

To provide context and inspire thought, we provide two sample projects below (but note that we welcome all research proposals that align with our cluster theme):

Sample Project 1: "Behavioural Science and Travel Behaviour Change: Effectiveness and Acceptability." Travel behaviour change towards more active travel is needed to reduce environmental harm and improve physical and mental health. This project will use behavioural insights to improve the efficiency of "hard" behavioural change interventions such as congestion charging or low emission zones through behaviourally informed communication and design. 

Sample Project 2: "Navigating Healthcare Efficiency: A Triple Helix Collaboration on Waste Management through Behavioral Science." This project will leverage “the Forth Valley University College partnership” between the University of Stirling, Forth Valley College, and NHS Forth Valley. Focused on NHS waste management, including staff retention, medical waste, and inefficiencies in medication and prescription utilization, the research employs behavioral science to identify challenges and propose interventions for improved healthcare in communities and ‘hospital at home.’

Funding Notes 

This advert is part of the recently launched Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) Studentships at the University of Stirling and offers:

  • 3-year full-time equivalent PhD studentships on a fully-funded basis (fees and stipend at the UKRI rate)
  • Fee waivers
  • Bursaries for students who already hold funding awards for fees

The PhD studentships are available as part of a competitive funding process

Expected start date of your PhD: October 2024

How to apply

  1. Visit our website to read our guide for applicants. On the same website, you can also register for one of our webinars on the 7th or 12th March.
  2. Fill in the Expression of Interest Online Form
  • Note that this online form will expand, as you begin filling it in.
  • Under point 13: Make sure to select the correct research cluster, namely “Tackling Challenges of Environmental and Human Health”
  • The application deadline for your Expressions of Interest is Monday, 25th March 2024 

Applicants are welcome to discuss their interest in doing their PhD as part of our research cluster before this deadline to help us identify possible supervisors and to help shape your project idea. To do so, please e-mail your inquiry to Till Stowasser (Senior Lecturer in Economics – ) or Gözde Özakıncı (Professor in Health Psychology – )



Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. Applications for this programme are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full programme details for further information.

Where will I study?

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