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Interactions between agricultural adaptations to climate change and vector-borne disease

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  • Full or part time
    Dr F Hawkes
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD project will explore how proposed and/or practiced agricultural adaptations to climate change in Tanzania may impact on the ecology and biology of insect vectors of disease and, ultimately, disease risk. The project will focus on mosquitoes as the primary vectors of malaria and other neglected arboviruses and rice cultivation as an area of agricultural growth that is closely associated with climate dependencies, particularly water availability, and established interactions with mosquito populations through the provision of larval habitats.
For many people in developing countries, subsistence and commercial agriculture are essential cornerstones of food security, health and nutrition, and income generation. These communities are often disproportionately affected by the burden of a range of insect-borne diseases, including malaria, which ultimately impact on their ability to engage in farming activities. Added to these issues are the potential impacts of global climate change. Agricultural adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change will be necessary to ensure future food security. However, there are intimate links between agricultural practices and vector ecology. It is therefore essential that agricultural strategies developed in response to climate change do not exacerbate the risk from mosquito-borne diseases, and malaria in particular. This PhD project will address the important interactions between agriculture, climate change and vector-borne disease, with a focus on Tanzania. Approximately 93% of the mainland population of Tanzania live in active malaria transmission areas, and agricultural strategies such as the climate smart system of rice intensification (SRI) are actively promoted alongside the Government’s ambition for Tanzania to become a net exporter of rice.
There is some flexibility in developing the project, however the student is expected to focus on the outline research areas below, which include, but are not limited to:
• Characterization of biotic and abiotic features relevant to mosquito ecology of different rice cultivation systems (e.g. traditional rain-fed cultivation, climate smart SRI rain-fed cultivation, and climate smart SRI irrigated cultivation).
• Comparative study of mosquito fauna in different rice cultivation systems (e.g. abundance, species composition, Plasmodium infection status, presence of insecticide resistance alleles).
• Laboratory and semi-field experiments on the influence of climate-adapted agricultural practices (e.g. water regimes, natural and artificial fertilizer inputs) on the quality of aquatic habitats for malaria mosquitoes, including life history, fitness traits, natural predator abundance, and potential impact of these parameters on entomological inoculation rates.
• Longitudinal study of mosquito vector and malaria transmission dynamics in communities adjacent to different rice cultivation areas.

For further information please contact the supervisor: Dr Frances Hawkes ([Email Address Removed])

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):
Year 1: £15,009 Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate
Scholarships are available for three years, full-time study from the date scholars first register as an MPhil/PhD student with the university. The successful candidate will receive a waiver for tuition fees for the duration of their three-year scholarship. Students may be liable for tuition fees after this period. Applicants must meet the programme entry requirements.
For additional information about the scholarship please go to:

Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online via No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.
• In the first part of the application select the following: Agriculture, Health and Environment (MPhil/PhD)

• Scholarship Reference Number (Ref) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying

• a CV including 2 referees *

• academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments need to be in PDF format.

The closing date for applications is midnight (UTC) on 10 November 2019
The scholarship must commence before 6 January 2020.

Related Subjects

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