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Wellcome Trust and University funded PhD Studentship: Do Not Feed the Animals? Ordering animal feeding from local to global.


   College of Social Sciences and International Studies

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  Dr A Cassidy, Prof D M Winter, Dr Rebecca Wheeler  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in Sociology as part of the Wellcome-Trust funded From 'Feed the Birds' to 'Do Not Feed the Animals' project

(https://animalfeeding.org/). This fully funded studentship, starting in September 2021, will be based at the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology, University of Exeter, in the CRPR (Centre for Rural Policy Research) http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/research/centres/crpr/

Signs stating ‘Do not feed the animals’ are ubiquitous in zoos, national parks and urban spaces across the UK. They stress that uncontrolled feeding by people can affect animal health, alter wildlife behaviour and create public hygiene and nuisance issues. However, humans seem to have a widespread and longstanding proclivity to feed other animals. Many ancient cults fed animals, some modern religions require it, and feeding is often actively encouraged as a tourist attraction. Millions of people feed wildlife in gardens and in 2018, the pet-food industry was worth £2.7 billion in the UK alone, trends which have accelerated since the start of the global pandemic. Do Not Feed The Animals (DNFTA) is exploring these fascinations with animal feeding, alongside their consequences for the shared health of humans, other animals and wider environments.

DNFTA is a collaboration between Exeter’s Departments of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology and Exeter Archaeology; with project partners at the University of Roehampton (Anthropology), University of Reading (Geography and Environmental Science), and National Museums of Scotland (Department of Natural Sciences).

Do Not Feed the Animals? Ordering animal feeding from local to global

This PhD project will investigate questions relating to the social ordering and governance of animal feeding. How do we collectively decide which animals should or should not be fed, by whom and in what contexts? What actions should be taken when animals start eating foods that people don’t want them to? What roles are played by everyday experience and expert knowledge in determining what food is appropriate? In turn, what roles does this knowledge play in the practical governance of animal feeding? What are the effects of ‘DNFTA’ signage and other forms of public engagement on feeding practices? How is animal feeding being shaped by rapidly changing 21st century food systems?

In line with the broader scope of DNFTA, the candidate will work as part of our larger research team while developing their own independent doctoral research project focused on one or more of the above-mentioned themes. The candidate will join a lively cohort of excellent early career researchers who have been joining DNFTA over this year: they will be co-supervised by staff based in CRPR at Exeter and members of the DNFTA team. They will be expected to work closely with DNFTA colleagues across all disciplines and engage with external stakeholders and publics in the co-production of their research.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Dr. Angela Cassidy

Academic Entry Requirements:

You should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent. At the point of applying, you should hold, or expect to hold, a relevant Master's degree, or have equivalent research experience in a relevant field (e.g. history of science, technology and medicine; science and technology studies; human geography; sociology; anthropology; environmental social science; policy studies).

If your undergraduate degree is not in social science or humanities, you MUST have a Masters degree OR relevant experience that is in one of the above social science/humanities areas.  

Residency Entry Requirements:

1)     UK only - This studentship, including full tuition fees and maintenance allowance, is available to UK candidates.

2)     International students can apply and pay the difference in tuition fees.


Funding Notes

UK tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Wellcome Trust rate of £ 19,919 per year, rising to £21,542 for year 2 and £23,298 for year 3, and a research allowance of £5,000 for the three years.
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