Using human behaviour change theory to develop educational programmes promoting the conservation of critically endangered crested macaques (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia


   Department of Psychology

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

Click here to search FindAPhD.com for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr J Micheletta, Dr L Proops, Dr C Bowyer  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD to commence in October 2024.

The PhD will be based in the Department of Psychology’s Centre of Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology, within the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Jérôme Micheletta, Dr Leanne Proops and Dr Cressida Bowyer

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.

Costs for student visa and immigration health surcharge are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page

The work on this project could involve:

  • A review of the use of human behaviour change models in the development of educational interventions across multiple fields (e.g. health, conservation, pro-environmental behaviour);
  • Assessment of existing conservation educational programmes to determine best practice;
  • Co-creation of new conservation education activities and materials with local communities in Indonesia based on local objectives established human behaviour change model(s), and knowledge of successful programmes;
  • Development of new monitoring and evaluation tools to assess the effectiveness of existing and new conservation education activities.

Project description

Human behaviour change models use psychological theories of human behaviour to develop interventions that change habits, beliefs and attitudes in order to promote positive and long-lasting behaviour change. These theoretical models are widely used to improve health outcomes and are increasingly being used in other fields, such as pro-environmental behaviour. However, the use of established pedagogy and behaviour change theory in the development of conservation education programmes is still in its infancy. Moreover, the impact and efficiency of these initiatives are rarely assessed systematically.

Despite this, in areas where primates are threatened, environmental education interventions and community initiatives are a crucial means to increase the local population’s knowledge of their environment and foster positive attitudes and behaviours to preserve the environment and wildlife. Since 2011, Tangkoko Conservation Education, the Macaca Nigra Project’s education programme has been implementing lessons and activities for school children aged 9-18 years old to encourage the local community to safeguard their local wildlife. The project focuses on the protection of crested macaques (Macaca nigra), a critically endangered Old World monkey found on only two islands in Indonesia where historically they were considered a pest and hunted for bushmeat. 

A recent evaluation of this programme revealed an overall positive impact but also highlighted some areas for improvement (Chanvin et al, 2023). Thus, aim of this PhD project is work alongside the local Indonesian communities, the Macaca Nigra Project and the Indonesian government to develop new theory-driven conservation education activities and materials that utilise methods including but not limited to participatory action research, arts-based education, and knowledge co-production. In tandem, the project aims to develop robust new evaluation tools and methods to assess the effectiveness of conservation education activities. 

This PhD is aimed at making important theoretical and applied contributions to the field of conservation education.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

  • Interest in nature conservation.
  • Knowledge and experience of social science methods and education interventions. 
  • Good communication skills and ability to work independently.
  • Willingness to conduct fieldwork under challenging conditions and in remote areas.
  • Willingness to learn (or knowledge of) basic spoken Indonesian language.

This is a multidisciplinary project and we encourage interested applicants with degrees in psychology, social sciences, education, conservation and related fields to get in touch.

How to Apply

If you have any project-specific questions please contact Dr Jérôme Micheletta ([Email Address Removed]), quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code PSYC8510124 when applying. Please note that email applications are not accepted.


Biological Sciences (4) Education (11) Environmental Sciences (13) Geography (17) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.
Costs for student visa and immigration health surcharge are not covered by this bursary. For further guidance and advice visit our international and EU students ‘Visa FAQs’ page.

How good is research at University of Portsmouth in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?


Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.