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Healthy green schools: investigating the actions and policies that schools can take to develop healthy and environmentally aware young people

Medical School

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Dr A.J. Williams , Dr C Guell , Prof Katrina Wyatt No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and climate change are two of the critical challenges facing humanity (General Assembly of the United Nations, 2011, The Academy of Medical Sciences, 2016). Novel approaches such as ‘ecological public health’ (Rayner and Lang, 2012) and ‘planetary health’ ( emphasise the complex interactions between health and the environment. These approaches recognise that interventions to prevent NCDs could help mitigate climate change and vice versa.

The University of Exeter Medical School is seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to undertake this exciting and innovative mixed methods project. The student will become part of the internationally recognised, highly interdisciplinary European Centre for Environment and Human Health ( ) in Truro, Cornwall.

As the 21st century progresses we need people to be healthier and environmentally aware. For many decades schools have played an important role in health, and currently Ofsted are developing methods to inspect school food environments. At the same time many schools also teach children about climate change and maybe even use renewable energy, have sustainable buildings or promote environmentally aware behaviours (e.g. Unicef’s Climate change and environmental education and The Ocean’s Academy, however, these are not currently co-ordinated in any way. Therefore, the purpose of this PhD is to explore what motivates schools to adopt ‘green’ policies or actions, whether the health co-benefits are considered, and to explore with education providers how best they would like to be supported with these actions and policies.

The studentship will employ both qualitative (e.g. interviews and focus groups) and quantitative (e.g. survey and data analysis) methods. However, the candidate need only have experience in one of these areas, instruction will be provided to develop skills in the other. Candidates with experience or strong interest in public and stakeholder engagement, and knowledge exchange are desirable as these are important aspects of the PhD. The specific aims and methods are negotiable and candidates who are invited to interview will be encouraged to discuss their own ideas.

Academic Supervisors:
Lead supervisor: Dr Andrew James Williams -

Dr Cornelia Guell - ;
Professor Katrina Wyatt -

Interview date: Tuesday 4th April 2017

Entry requirements:
Applicants should be highly motivated and have either a first or upper-second class BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline and ideally have, or expect to obtain, a master’s degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent experience. International applicants must also have IELTS [International English Language Testing System] score of 7 and above (or equivalent qualification). The candidate should have experience in either qualitative or quantitative methods and have a strong interest in developing mixed methods skills.

Please apply via the ‘Apply online’ button and upload the following documents:

• CV

• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project.

• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)

• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English (see entry requirements

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email [Email Address Removed] Project specific queries should be directed to the lead supervisor.

We regret that only candidates shortlisted for interview will be contacted.

Funding Notes

The studentship will be fully-funded for UK/EU students, including a stipend of £14,296 per annum (based on the full-time 16/17 rate). Tuition fees will be paid at the UK/EU rate. Candidates from countries outside the European Union will be liable for the difference between 'home student fees' and 'international student fees' which was just over £14,000 in 15/16 but is likely to increase slightly each year. Non-EU students who wish to be considered must confirm their ability to pay the international portion of the fee (please If selected, financial assurances will be required.


General Assembly of the United Nations (2011) High-level meeting on non-communicable diseases. New York, General Assembly of the United Nations. Available online: (accessed 8 February 2017)
Rayner, G. & Lang, T. (2012) Ecological public health: reshaping the conditions for good health. Abingdon, Routledge.
The Academy of Medical Sciences (2016) Improving the health of the public by 2040: optimising the research environment for a healthier, fairer future. London, The Academy of Medical Sciences. Available online: (accessed 8 February 2017).

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