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Reproductive Biomarkers for Chemical Impacts in Wild Frogs (Ref: PHDHLS2001)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in collaboration with the University of Exeter (UoE) is seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability and commitment to join its vibrant and growing programme of internationally excellent research. Successful applicants will benefit from our intellectually stimulating and inclusive research environment and from enhanced career development support and professional skills training.

This studentship provides an exciting opportunity to study how pollution is impacting the reproductive health of amphibians. One of the most critical conservation issues today is the on-going, global amphibian decline. When last assessed (2004), 32% of amphibian species were reported to be threatened with extinction and at least 43% were experiencing decline, which is faster than any other vertebrate group. Reduced recruitment is thought to be a major contributor to amphibian declines, however, it has received relatively little attention compared with the contribution of adult mortality to declines. At present, the most widely used biomarker for assessing chemical effects on reproductive health involved destructive techniques, which needs to be avoided wherever possible, but especially when assessing the health of vulnerable populations for which very few individuals may be surviving in the wild. The aim of this studentship is to develop non-destructive biomarkers for reproductive fitness and it will provide a broad training in research methods spanning field based ecology to molecular biology. This studentship is funded by defra and will supervised principally by Dr Frances Orton (UWS) and Professor Charles Tyler (UoE) with direct support also from collaborators in Japan where some of the laboratory training will be provided (in Tokyo for 1-2 months).

Applicants for this studentship 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, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.

• CV
• Letter of application (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)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

Funding Notes

The studentship offers an annual stipend of £15,224 per annum for three years and payment of tuition fees (current value £4324). Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed and the successful candidate selected based on their qualifications, suitability for the post and interview performance. Successful applicants will be expected to contribute up to 6 hours/week to UWS’ academic related activities.

Studentships are open to Home/EU candidates with a first degree in a relevant discipline. Non-EU students can apply, but will not receive the stipend and will be required to pay fees.


Interviews will be held at the University of the West of Scotland.

Candidates must be available to commence their studies on 1st October 2020.

Applications can be made via the website (project no. PHDHLS2001). Enquiries regarding the project should be made to: Dr Frances Orton, [email protected] Enquiries regarding the application process should be made to [email protected]

Keywords: Amphibians, ecotoxicology, pollution, fertility, reproduction, PCR, gene expression

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