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Designing technology for better urban wildlife interactions (RDF23/CIS/VDLINDEN)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Dirk Van der Linden, Prof Shaun Lawson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Are you interested in making the world a better place for human and animal alike? Want to use your skills to work on a trans-disciplinary challenge designing technology that will support and guide urban wildlife interactions to the benefit of people, animals, and society, all grounded in the EU’s “One Health” concept? This PhD might be the fit for you.

Your PhD project will be situated in an ongoing strand of (more than) thuman digital design research at Northumbria University on urban human-wildlife interactions across the UK establishing a critical anthrozoologically-informed exploration of the role that technology ought to play in establishing more-than-human cities. You will be expected to work on the design and prototyping of platforms for human and urban wildlife co-existence in a way to promote both human mental & physical health on the one hand, and increasing understanding and tolerance of the role of the non-human in the city on the other hand. We have existing datasets setting out detailed positive and negative urban wildlife encounters, and ongoing collaborations with anthrozoologists and computer scientists with which you will be able to collaborate.

As this is an inherently trans-disciplinary project, you might have a background in computer science, information systems, human geography, anthropology, or animal science, with a keen interest in the role of technology in human-animal relationships.

If you want to chat about this project, discuss whether it’s right for you, and what doing a PhD (at Northumbria) is like, get in touch with Dirk.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr. Dirk van der Linden. For informal queries, please contact [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions.

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities).  

 Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.  Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
  • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England
  • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see   

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023 tbc

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers.


van der Linden, D. (2021). Interspecies information systems. Requirements Engineering, 26(4), 535-556.
van der Linden, D. (2022). Animal-computer interaction needs dignity: a critical essay on ACI’s core concept. Proc. Int. Conf. on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI’22). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
van der Linden, D., Davidson, B. I., Hirsch-Matsioulas, O., & Zamansky, A. (2022). On the role of technology in human-dog relationships: a future of nightmares or dreams. IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society.

How good is research at Northumbria University in Computer Science and Informatics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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