CDTS320: Underpinning whelk fishery co-management using bio-economic and network analysis approaches

   Institute of Life and Earth Sciences

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  Prof Michel Kaiser, Prof Lynda Rodwell  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Whelk fisheries are becoming increasingly important for the UK fishing industry and were worth c. £19 million in 2019. Despite their value they are data poor. Unlike other fisheries, whelks are relatively sendentary which means they are prone to localised depletion. Catch data is complicated by the fact this is a pot fishery. 

Aims and objectives

The PhD will investigate critical knowledge gaps, ascertaining the factors affecting catch rate and using industry knowledge to inform modelling approaches that will inform how the fishery might be better managed.


The student will gain training in field work, capture mark recapture studies, video analysis, bioeconomic modelling, social survey techniques, network analysis and choice experiments. The student will be supported by an experienced team of experts with strong links to the UK fishing industry, policy makers and managers. The student will emerge with a multidisciplinary training and extensive network of contacts and collaborators. The student will be embedded in UK industry science partnerships that aim to improve the way our fisheries are managed.

The student will be based in Edinburgh (Heriot Watt and Seafish) and will spend periods of time at University of Plymouth and Bangor University for field work and/or training. Field work will occur mostly in Kent and Wales. Students must be able to pass a ‘Survival at Sea Course’ for health and safety purposes and would need to be able to pass an ENG1 sea-going medical for insurance purposes. 


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject and either a relevant masters qualification or a wider range of experience in a relevant career path (which is equally as important).

Each applicant may apply for a studentship on up to three CDT SuMMeR projects. Where more than one project is applied for, the supervisors of all those projects will be made aware that other applications have been made.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and 8 months. All UKRI-funded PhD students (UK, EU, International) will be eligible for the full award – both the stipend to support living costs (£18,622 per academic year at full time equivalent at the 2023/24 rate), and fees at the research organisation’s UK rate. International students are eligible for UKRI-funded postgraduate studentships but UKRI will limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through individual doctoral training programmes to 30% of the intake per cohort. CDT SuMMeR’s funding will not cover international fees set by universities; applicants normally required to pay international fees may have to cover the difference between the home and the international tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum). Please enquire with the lead supervisor on the situation regarding international fees for the project you are interested in. CDT SuMMeR’s funding will not cover costs associated with visa application or health surcharges, or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in, the UK. For EU and international eligibility for UKRI studentships, see UKRI’s guidance.

In case of uncertainty, applicants should contact the planned university of registration for eligibility advice, or the CDT SuMMeR Programme Office: [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4) Economics (10) Environmental Sciences (13) Geography (17)

Funding Notes

CDT SuMMeR studentships are partially funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which applies the eligibility criteria laid down by its parent body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and co-funded by the respective Hosting Partner institutes. UKRI provides details on its training grants in its Terms and Conditions for Training Funding document, including its Training Grant Guide, which can be found on the UKRI website