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Exploring conservation policy with agent-based models

Faculty of Health and Life Science

About the Project

In this interdisciplinary project, cutting-edge modelling techniques will be used to design effective conservation policy by understanding the socio-environmental feedbacks between human decision makers and natural populations. Measures such as Environmental Land
Management Schemes aim to reward activities that promote wildlife, but the decision makers that manage these landscapes are influenced by a wide range of considerations – expected economic benefits, personal beliefs, the behaviour of their neighbours, as well as the consequences for natural populations of their land management choices. Understanding the repercussions of any policy intervention requires a consideration of the interaction between the economic drivers from subsidies and agriculture, ecological dynamics, and human decision making. You will use agent based models to capture the spatiotemporal dynamics of the biological and human agents that together effect the outcomes of policy. These models will be used to explore the likely consequences of different policies currently under
consideration, including those that pay by results rather than by action, such as unintended consequences and spillover. The project will exploit recent advances by the supervisory team that facilitate the exploration of this class of model. The project is supervised by Dr. Stephen Cornell, Dr. Julia Touza, and Dr. Glyn Jones. You will be working in a team with expertise spanning mathematical modelling, ecology, and environmental economics. The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool and York, and FERA Science. The student will have the opportunity to spend time working in FERA, who continue to play a key role in designing and evaluating environmental and agricultural policy for the UK government. The project would suit a candidate who is keen to make an impact on biological conservation, either from a biological or environmental science background with strong quantitative skills, or with a background in a quantitative discipline (e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science).


Notes and how to apply are available here:

Funding Notes

NERC ACCE DTP in Ecology and Evolution, programme starts October 2021.

UKRI provide the following funding for 3.5 years:
• Stipend (2020/21 UKRI rate £15,285)
• Tuition Fees at UK fee rate (2020/21 rate £4,407)
• Research support and training grant (RTSG)

Note - UKRI funding only covers UK fees (£4,407 at 2020/2021 rate). A limited number of international fee bursaries will be awarded on a competitive basis. However, if selected International and EU fee rate candidates may need to cover the remaining amount of tuition fees by securing additional funding. International fees for 2020/21 entry were £23,650 per annum.

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