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Integrating social data into systematic conservation planning. NERC RENEW PhD Studentship

   College of Life and Environmental Sciences

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  Prof K Gaston, Dr Lewis Elliott, Dr R Lovell  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Resources for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services are invariably limited and need to be spatially allocated (a place-based approach) to greatest effect. However, evaluating often multiple policy and management options is commonly extremely challenging, because of conflicting and interacting values and objectives of different stakeholders, and frequently incomplete information. Systematic conservation planning (SCP) and related approaches have been employed widely to provide support for such decision-making. In particular, they enable the consequences of alternative explicit assumptions and weightings of different considerations to be formally compared and contrasted, and often portrayed in map form. However, whilst it is clear that some allocations of resources for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation are more beneficial to human communities (including in terms of health and wellbeing) and are more socially acceptable, the integration of social data into SCP has thus far been limited.

This studentship will explore the integration of social data on individuals’ benefits from, and attitudes and expectations towards, the natural environment into SCP for England. First, it will evaluate the appropriateness of, and ways of handling, different kinds of social data in the context of such tools. This will include addressing issues such as the application of 'benefits transfer' techniques that are widely employed in the context of environmental data, and issues of spatial context (e.g. views of nature) that may be rather different from those relevant to environmental data per se. Second, it will integrate key social data sets (e.g. such as ones derived from Natural England's People and Nature Survey) into SCP to examine some current significant strategic planning issues, particularly the consequences for the spatial allocations of resources for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation (such as those embodied in Local Nature Recovery Strategies, tree-planting targets and net gain) of addressing the health and wellbeing benefits of nature, the social acceptability of options, and of reducing the potential for environmental and social injustice, and the potential of an SCP approach for anticipating un-intended consequences of environmental change.

This project is a partnership between Natural England and the University of Exeter RENEW project 'Individuals' theme, and the student will work closely with Natural England, use its approaches as a case study for the research, and have opportunities to be embedded in the organisation for a period.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate discipline to the project. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Master’s degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

If English is not your first language, you would need to meet our English language requirements by the start of the project http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/.

How to apply:

The closing date for applications is midnight Wednesday 29th June 2022 2359 GMT

In the application process, you will be asked to upload several documents. Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”.

• 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 current proficiency in English.

Reference Information

You will be asked to name two referees as part of the application process, please ensure that you include this information, and where possible upload the reference documents. Your referees should not be from the prospective supervisory team.

• Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, if you do not upload them at the time of submitting your application you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the application deadline.

• If your named referee would prefer to send us their document directly please ask them to forward the documents to [Email Address Removed]

• References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email [Email Address Removed].

Project-specific queries should be directed to the primary supervisor.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

For further information and submit and application please visit - https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/funding/award/?id=4469

Funding Notes

RENEW studentships are open to UK and Irish nationals who, if successful in their applications, will receive a full studentship including payment of university tuition fees at the home fees rate.
A limited number of full studentships are also available to international students, which are defined as EU (excluding Irish nationals), EEA, Swiss, and all other non-UK nationals.
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