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  NERC RED ALERT CDT studentship for 2024 Entry – Resilience to environmental stressors in Borneo freshwater systems. PhD in Biological Sciences. Ref: 5065

   Department of Biosciences

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  Dr E Santos, Dr R Brazier  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

About the Partnership

Natural Environment Research Council funded RED ALERT Centre for Doctoral Training NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Real-Time Digital Water-Based Systems (RED-ALERT CDT) will provide training in water-based early warning systems for environmental and public health protection focused around 4 UK and 3 international Living Labs aimed to provide the in-depth knowledge and enable a step-change in managing environmental and public health.

This project is one of a number in competition for funding from the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Real-Time Digital Water-Based Systems for Environmental Health Protection (RED ALERT CDT). The NERC RED ALERT CDT consists the University of Bath, Bangor University, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter plus the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. RED-ALERT CDT’s vision is to train and empower a new generation of leaders to transform how we manage aquatic environmental health via Real-Time Digital Water-Based Systems.

For eligible successful applicants, the studentship comprises:

· A stipend for 3.5 years (£19,237 p.a. for 2024-25) in line with UK Research and Innovation rates

· Payment of university tuition fee;

· A research budget of £11,000 for conferences, lab, field and research expenses;

Project Background:

Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo is home to one of the most significant peatland ecosystems in the world, housing many threatened and endemic species, and providing important ecosystem services for local people. In recent years, socio-economic and climatic changes have led to forest destruction by intentional or accidental fires. This, together with expansion of agriculture and plantations, urban centres and riverside villages without appropriate sewage treatment, and mining has led to a progressive deterioration of water quality across the region. The specific stressors affecting water bodies are poorly understood and include changes in abiotic factors, chemical pollution, fire impacts and hydrological changes resulting from creation of man-made water channels. Freshwater fish are a highly valued food and cultural commodity but provide a vehicle for the transmission of pollutants to humans. Further, fisheries collapses associated with drought and fires have significant impact on food and livelihoods.

Project Aims and Methods:

This project will address the following aims:

1. Understand the stressors impacting on aquatic systems in Central Kalimantan.

This will be achieved by reviewing the literature, utilising data collected by local agencies and collection and analysis of water chemistry across the region.

2. Understand the impact of water quality parameters on fish and their potential to serve as a carrier of pollutants into the human food chain.

This will be achieved by conducting health assessments of fish from the region, analysing the chemical content of fish species representing different ecological niches and which people in the region eat, to assess the likelihood of human exposure to water-borne pollutants via fish consumption.

3. Understand the importance of aquatic systems for the human wellbeing, the impacts of pollution on this, and perceptions of change required.

This will be achieved by using metadata analysis and surveys of populations to understand the value and relationships of people with the aquatic environment, how they feel impacted by pollution, and their perceptions of the changes required to mitigate these impacts.

Project partners:

Borneo Nature Foundation

Training: The student will receive training in field work, water chemistry analysis (in the state-of-the-art CREWW laboratories and at the University of Bath); fish health assessments; social science assessments of the perceptions of importance and needs for people in the region in relation to water quality and fish and fisheries.

Background reading and references

Useful Links:

For information relating to the research project please contact the lead Supervisor via e-mail ([Email Address Removed])

Prospective applicants: For information about the application process please contact the Admissions team via [Email Address Removed]. Each project advertisement has an ‘Apply Now’ button linking to an application portal. Please note that applications received via other routes including a standard programme application route will not be considered for the studentship funding.

Funding Eligibility

NERC RED ALERT CDT 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.

Those not meeting the nationality and residency requirements to be treated as a ‘home’ student may apply for a limited number of full studentships for international students. Although international students are usually charged a higher tuition fee rate than ‘home’ students, those international students offered a NERC RED ALERT CDT full studentship starting in 2024 will only be charged the ‘home’ tuition fee rate (which will be covered by the studentship). International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD. More information on this is available from the universities you are applying to (contact details are provided in the project description that you are interested in.

The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

For further information and how to apply please see the following link Award details | Funding and scholarships for students | University of Exeter

If you have any further queries please email [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

For eligible successful applicants, the studentship comprises:
· A stipend for 3.5 years (£19,237 p.a. for 2024-25) in line with UK Research and Innovation rates
· Payment of university tuition fee;
· A research budget of £11,000 for conferences, lab, field and research expenses.

Where will I study?

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