Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Leverhulme project: Knowledge, understanding and the demand for ivory

Department of Biology

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr C Beale , Prof V Wells No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The illegal wildlife trade is a key driver of biodiversity change. A PhD studentship is available to analyse ivory demand from biological (supply) and marketing (demand reduction) perspectives. Through fieldwork, you will collaborate with organisations that have run demand management or social marketing campaigns to evaluate their success in changing audiences’ knowledge, beliefs and behaviour. You will be based in the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) at the University of York, supervised by leading experts in this field, Colin Beale and Victoria Wells.

Working closely with international conservation organisations, you will explore:
- What makes a successful social marketing campaign in conservation, where success is increased knowledge and changes in beliefs and behaviours?
- Does social media amplify the effectiveness of campaigns?
- How sensitive are the rates of illegal activity to fluctuations in demand: what is the potential for campaigns to improve conservation outcomes?
- How should conservation funds be prioritised between interventions at source sites, at international borders or on demand reduction campaigns, considering both the conservation benefit and ethical implications?

Fieldwork will be conducted in Hong Kong, mainland China and Nairobi.

You will have an interest in conservation and marketing and be open to a wide range of methodologies and approaches. You will have, or be willing to gain, skills in social marketing, social media data analysis and analysis of economic and ecological data from elephant range states. You will have excellent communication and collaboration skills, sensitivity to ethical concerns and an ability to identify and comply with best practice when dealing with human data about illegal activities.

LCAB will provide you with opportunities to interact with other students and researchers across departments and institutions, and will offer additional training as required. Please check the LCAB website

An opportunity is also available to submit your own proposal for a fully funded studentship with LCAB.

The LCAB and the Department of Biology are 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.

Funding Notes

This studentship covers UK fees for 4 years and a tax-free stipend to match the UKRI’s minimum rate for 2021/22 (estimated £15,860 per year) for 3.5 years. Non-UK citizens are welcome to apply but must pay the difference between the international tuition fees (£22,250 for 2021/22) and the UK tuition fees (£4,473 for 2021/22).


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 research project means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the project.

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for your country. Please check our website:

START DATE: 1st October 2021

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.