Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

PhD studentship in Animal Behaviour: Cognitive Biases and Visual Search in Bees

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

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Dr V Nityananda
    Dr C Rowe
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2020, The funding covers a 3 year PhD.


Interested in figuring out how ’emotional states’ might affect bee vision? Recent studies have shown that stressed bees can have cognitive biases that resemble pessimism. Conversely, bees encountering unexpected rewards have biases that resemble optimism. This project will experimentally investigate how this affects their visual search for rewarding flowers.

Our experiments will include presenting stressed or rewarded bumblebees visual stimuli in a virtual meadow and using high-speed video analysis to quantify the effects of cognitive states on visual attention and search. We will also investigate the role of differing stressors on bee behaviour and vision – including the effects of pesticides. Our prediction is that cognitive states will influence vision and visual behaviour and measuring them will allow us to begin to develop measures of insect well-being.

Cross-disciplinary training will be provided in animal behaviour, psychological testing, animal welfare, neuroethology and programming skills. The project will have important applied implications for insect welfare as well as theoretical implications in terms of understanding how vision is linked to cognitive states in insects.


Newcastle University, Faculty of Medical Sciences

Name of supervisor(s)

Vivek Nityananda (
Candy Rowe (
Melissa Bateson (

Biosciences Institute (

Eligibility Criteria

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent in biology, zoology or a related field.

If English is not your first language, you should have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

100% of UK tuition fees will be paid for UK/EU students - successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
•insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences ’ as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code bi006 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code bi006 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ([Email Address Removed]) with the following information:

your application number (from the first project application that you submitted online)

the second studentship code and its corresponding title

a two page covering letter for the second project Our Postgraduate Admissions Service ( will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.


[Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% of UK tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,294. Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.