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Understanding the multiple roles of culture in valuing ecosystems and their services

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Kenter
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The ecosystem services framework is an environmental management approach that identifies four groups of services provided by ecosystems: supporting services, provisioning service, regulating services and cultural services. In the framework, culture is considered through the category of cultural services that encompasses the non-material benefits obtained from ecosystems. Recently, there have been calls for the broader consideration of culture as a driver of change and as a medium for all ecosystem services. The relationship between people and nature is complex and relational and this project will focus on the influence that culture has on human behaviour and values, how it works as a driver of change and what this implies for ecosystem services. This is an interdisciplinary social-ecological project that will harness both existing scientific data on key marine and coastal ecosystem services like fisheries, biodiversity, blue carbon and tourism and undertake mixed method fieldwork to understand and operationalise a conceptual chain reflecting the multiple roles of culture in assessing, valuing and managing these services. It will draw on understanding from different academic disciplines such as ecology, ecological economics, cultural studies, social psychology and environmental policy and planning where appropriate. The research will be a comparative study conducted in two case regions, Scotland and Malta, with different cultures, environments, environmental pressures and needs. The ideal candidate will have an interdisciplinary background with exposure to natural and social sciences and/or the arts and humanities and will be able to connect and work effectively and independently with diverse cultural contexts and stakeholders.

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project.

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences.


Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

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