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PhD in Economics - Ancient biodiversity and long-term economic development

   Cardiff Business School

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  Dr Sotiris Kampanelis, Dr Vassilis Logothetis  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Ancient biodiversity and long-term economic development

This project contributes to the deep roots of economic development. Using a novel dataset that identifies areas that edible species used to live before and/or during the ice age period, this research will study potential effects on early human footpaths as indicators of economic development during early and later periods in human history. Recent research shows that current economic development around the world has deep historical roots in geography, culture, genetics, and man-made institutions. However, there is no significant research on the effects of early flora on long-term economic development. The hypothesis suggests that although hunter-gatherers were establishing early communities in places with better climatic and geographic characteristics, they should also consider those with edible species such as mammals. Therefore, fossil findings of edible species could explain long-run economic development patterns.

The Ph.D. student will make a major contribution to the literature that examines the effects of the environment on economic development. It will be based at Cardiff Business School, though distant work may be part of the program. 

The project is adaptable to different interdisciplinary backgrounds, particularly Economics, Development Studies, Geography, and Anthropology. The Ph.D. student will first focus on learning tools such as GIS (Geographical Information Systems), thus giving the ability to elaborate online data provided as a raster (such as tiff files). More specifically, the student will learn basic tools of extracting data, calculating means of variables at the local level, distances among areas, etc. Moreover, the student should familiarize herself/himself with free-GIS databases and learn how to download and elaborate them by using GIS tools while studying the bibliography related to the effects of bioclimatic conditions on economic development.

Research questions and Methods:

1) Has early biodiversity affected long-term economic development

2) To what extend early humans as hunter-gatherers have based their settlements on natural food sources?

3) Has economic development during the later period of human history based on early biodiversity through early settlements patterns?

4) To what extend this development is persistent?


Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, or appropriate Master’s degree. The University values diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. In line with our commitment to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to increase recruitment of currently underrepresented groups, applications from Black British, Asian British, minority ethnicity British and mixed race British candidates are particularly encouraged and welcomed.

PhDs are available on either a 1+1+2 or 1+2 basis.

  • 1+1+2 : a Masters in Economics in the 1st year, followed by 1 year MRes in Advanced Economics, then 2 years of doctoral research.
  • 1+2 : a 1 year MRes in Advanced Economics, followed by 2 years of doctoral research

Please see the Cardiff Business School website for further details on the programme structure and admission criteria.

How to Apply

Applications should be made online, please visit the Business School website and click "apply now" 

The application must contain the following documents:

1. Covering letter: This must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University and the Economics Pathway; your understanding and expectations of doctoral study; your academic interests, particularly of those relating to your proposed research, and must specify whether you wish to apply on a 1+1+2 or 1+2 basis. The covering letter should be no more than two pages.

2. Academic / Professional Qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).

3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support.

4. Curriculum Vitae: maximum two pages.

5. Research Proposal: a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following headings in your research proposal:

·      Title, aims and purpose of the research;

·      Brief overview of the academic literature relevant to your field;

·      Proposed design/methods;

·      Academic contributions of your research;

·      Bibliographic References.

Funding Notes

This project is not funded, applications from self-funded home and international students are welcome. Outstanding applicants from ANY country may be considered for one of the available University scholarships. The start date is 1st October 2022.
Applications are open until 1st April 2022, however if sufficient applications are received we reserve the right to close the application early.
For more information about scholarships, entry requirements and application process please visit our website


This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (

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