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  NERC PhD studentship: Social and ecological dimensions of wildlife management

   College of Life and Environmental Sciences

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  Prof R McDonald  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Managing wildlife often gives rise to conflict among people. Effective and sustainable wildlife management is increasingly challenged by social conflicts among human stakeholders that can severely compromise management programmes, sometimes exacerbating problems for all involved. Highly charged debates characterize issues such as the culling of animals to control disease, reduce predation, protect safety or limit economic loss. Frameworks for policy and practice to deal with these conflicts are also complex and vary in their approach among those established for agricultural production, biodiversity conservation or health protection and differ markedly between private and public sectors. Natural scientists, particularly ecologists, tend to dominate the evidence base around wildlife management, but with highly influential public and political debates increasingly affecting the approach and outcomes of management, there is a timely opportunity to develop better understanding of the social and ecological dimensions of wildlife management and the evidence that might bring these two areas together.

In this project, the student will conduct interdisciplinary research on the social and ecological contexts of wildlife management. The main focus will be on the management of invasive, non-native species in the UK. They will examine the problems caused by invasive non-native animals, approaches to and prospects for managing these problems, while investigating in detail the human conflicts over managing such species in a series of case studies. For example, the student could examine the role of deliberative processes in relation to the eradication of rats from seabird islands, the role of governments and their agencies in animal management in towns and countryside, or the discourses in various media regarding invasive and introduced species and their management. This is a broad-ranging, interdisciplinary topic with ample potential to develop a distinctive applied research project that contributes to effective wildlife management by communicating across scientific boundaries.

The project will be based at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus, near Falmouth. Fieldwork will be conducted across the UK, sometimes requiring periods on remote islands. Successful applicants will join a team of natural and social scientists working in the University’s new Environment and Sustainability Institute and will benefit from collaboration with ecologists in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation and geographers in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. The University has also established a Co-Operative Wildlife Research Unit with UK Government wildlife scientists providing further opportunities for access and collaboration.

About the award: This studentship is funded by NERC and will start in September 2013. The studentship will cover a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£13,726 per annum for 2013-2014), research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by NERC (see Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.

Entry requirements: Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK The successful applicant could have a background in either natural or social science with training in ecology, geography, sociology, biological anthropology or similar subjects. An interest or understanding of wildlife and/or countryside management would be an advantage.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Wednesday 20th March 2013. We anticipate that interviews will take place on the 26th or 28th March.

Application procedures:

Please upload the following documents to the studentship application form -
• CV
• Covering letter (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)
• 2 references (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to [Email Address Removed])

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email [Email Address Removed] or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310. Project specific queries should be directed to the supervisors.

Where will I study?

 About the Project