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Fully-funded ACCE Environment project: The role of air pollution and climate change in achieving UK woodland code project carbon sequestration targets.


   Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE)

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  Prof Lisa Emberson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lead supervisor: Prof Lisa Emberson (University of York - Department of Environment & Geography)

Co-supervisors: Dr Julia Touza-Montero (University of York - Department of Environment & Geography) Dr Massimo Vieno (CEH) Dr Mike Perks (Forest Research)

The student will be registered with the Department of Environment & Geography

The ambition to reach net zero emissions in the UK by 2050 will in part be determined by the effectiveness of greenhouse gas removal (GGRs) projects. An important GGR mechanism will be afforestation projects with woodlands being planted across the UK to sequester carbon. The importance of species selection, land suitability and monitoring and evaluation of such projects are well recognised. However, the role of climate change and air pollution, which will together affect the level of abiotic stress and hence the amount of carbon sequestration that can be achieved, have not been studied. Ignoring the effect of these stresses may lead to substantial overestimates of the carbon sequestration that can be achieved in carbon off-setting schemes and hence their cost effectiveness and likely success. This project would develop existing pollution deposition models to simulate the effect of abiotic stress (air pollution and changing climate variables) on forest biomass losses and, in turn, carbon sequestration. The potential loss in carbon sequestration would be considered in relation to carbon off-setting schemes and consequences for carbon cost and pricing as well as in relation to the effectiveness of UK woodland code projects in delivering their planned contributions to UK carbon sequestration targets.

This studentship will be based in the Environment & Geography Dept. at the University of York but will benefit from close research collaboration with Forest Research and UKCEH Edinburgh. Depending on available skills and experience, the successful applicant will receive training in plant physiology, modelling and computer programming (Fortran, R, and Python) as well as the socio-economic aspects of climate policy and carbon credits schemes. The successful applicant will become part of the vibrant postgraduate community within York, UKCEH and Forest Research. For informal discussion please contact the main supervisor Lisa Emberson ([Email Address Removed])

The ACCE DTP is committed to recruiting extraordinary future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Please complete and upload this proforma in support of your application.

Entry Requirements: 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 programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological, ecological or evolutionary questions. 

Programme: PhD in ACCE (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023 (the student will be registered with the Department of Environment & Geography)

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the w/c 20 February 2023


Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ACCE Doctoral Training Partnership. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 3.5 years. The funding includes:
Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022/23 academic year)
UK tuition fees
Research support and training charges
International students will need to have sufficient funds to cover the costs of their student visa, NHS health surcharge, travel insurance and transport to the UK as these are excluded from UKRI funding.
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