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New approaches to participatory development for social-ecological resilience: A case study from Garhwal, North-West India

Project Description

This project is supported by colleagues in GSI

The requirement for participatory, community-led approaches to sustainable development is well established but the practice remains patchy and partial and often delivers mainly short-lived outcomes. We urgently need to better understand how to enable these approaches to deliver long term social-ecological resilience.

This project will build and test new methodologies which can help build resilience to the social-ecological challenges faced by communities in the rapidly changing landscapes of the Garwhal Himalaya, India. It will focus on (i) understanding the complex relationships between the rapid social and environmental changes currently taking place and (ii) exploring the contribution that participatory methodologies can play in delivering the long term resilience required for sustainable development.

Participatory research comprises a range of methodological approaches and techniques, all with the objective of handing power from the researcher to research participants, often community members or community-based organisations. In participatory research, participants have control over the research agenda, the process and actions. Most importantly, people themselves are the ones who analyse and reflect on the information generated, in order to obtain the findings and conclusions of the research process.

Using interviews, fuzzy cognitive mapping and participatory workshops the project will explore:

(1) The barriers and enablers of social-ecological resilience and sustainable development in the case study community
(2) The potential for resilience to be enhanced using actions at local, state and national scale in India
(3) Existing dominant approaches to participatory development
(4) The potential for multi-method resilience analyses to contribute to community-led planning for resilience and sustainable development
(5) An appraisal of what innovations in participatory methods are needed and how these may be delivered within the case study community

The Garwhal Himalaya, India is an ideal test-bed for this project. The area is undergoing rapid physical and socio-economic change as a result of climate change, changing employment opportunities and cultural expectations. The team has established links with the world renowned Hanifl outdoor and environmental education centre, facilitating access to key stakeholders to support the research process.

To discuss the research project, please contact Dr Alison Greig, email .

Candidate requirements

Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject is desirable.


You can apply via our landing page We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 9 February. Applications missing the project reference number will be rejected as will applications for multiple studentships.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the studentships, please contact Becky Kraszewski on 01245 684920, or email .

Documentation required

You will also need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

1) Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
2) Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project
3) Passport and visa (if applicable)
4) English Language qualifications (if applicable)
5) Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

The successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s studentship awards which covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and conditions.

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