Comparing the relationship between inequality and biodiversity in croplands with weak and strong sustainability


   Department of Archaeology

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  Dr Adam Green, Dr Eleanor Jew, Dr Louise Cooke  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Understanding the agriculture-inequality-biodiversity nexus is critical to sustainable development, which must reconcile potentially conflicting goals to eliminate hunger, reduce inequalities and protect life on land. This challenge is acute in India, where high agricultural yields provide food security and livelihoods for millions, but reduce biodiversity and threaten sustainability. In this project you will investigate which agricultural practices can increase biodiversity without increasing inequalities.

You will be based in the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) at the University of York, supervised by Adam Green, Eleanor Jew and Louise Cooke. Your project will:

  • Review archaeological data to select villages for sampling
  • Compile income data from village, district, state and government records to calculate inequality
  • Measure biodiversity across the local landscape using indicator species in agricultural areas and surrounding natural habitat

Fieldwork will be conducted in northwest India.

You will have a strong interest in sustainability along with an awareness of the challenges inherent in sustainable development and debates surrounding the Anthropocene. Evidence of interdisciplinary interest is essential. Your core skills will be grounded in spatial, quantitative and computational methods, preferably in relation to the economics of inequality or the ecology of biodiversity. You will have a degree in a relevant field and proficiency with R and GIS-based spatial analysis techniques is desirable. Prior fieldwork experience is essential, preferably in relation to biodiversity. Previous travel in South Asia, and in particular a knowledge of Hindi, would be an advantage.

LCAB provides opportunities to interact with students and researchers across departments and institutions, and will offer additional training as required. 

Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this research project means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any relevant subject that provides appropriate skills, knowledge and experience for the project. Further training will be available.

Several studentships are available with LCAB - take a look at our others, including the option to submit your own research proposal under the theme of Biodiversity Gains and Resilience.


Biological Sciences (4) History & Archaeology (19) Politics & Government (30)

Funding Notes

This studentship covers UK fees for 4 years and a tax-free stipend to match the UKRI’s minimum rate for 2024/25 for 3.5 years. To qualify for UK (home) fee status, students must be from the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) or Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the past three years.

Where will I study?