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Subject: PhD funding available to academic institutions for coastal ecology research

- Call for concept notes from academic institutes -

PhD funding available to academic institutions for coastal ecology/ sustainable aquaculture research

Earthwatch (Europe) is seeking to fund two PhD candidates within an academic institute where the primary supervisors will be based.  This initiative forms part of the Tate & Lyle PLC – Earthwatch Partnership.


The projects will become part of the Earthwatch ‘Coastal Ecology’ and ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ research programmes, and should aim to directly inform effective management actions towards the long-term health of ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and sustainable seaweed farming. Partnership with Earthwatch will be integral to the projects, and supervisory support will be provided by named persons at Earthwatch.  This call seeks to solicit PhD project concepts from individual academics (or heads of departments) interested in this opportunity.

Earthwatch is looking to facilitate PhD research around the following themes:
- The ecological impacts resulting from seaweed farming
For example the direct and/or indirect effects of seaweed farming on biodiversity, ecosystem structure and dynamics, including coral reef and sea grass communities, and the resultant social and economic interactions.
- The effects of non-native seaweed introductions
For example on native species diversity, community structure and function; the spatial and temporal variability of impacts, spread and ecosystem vulnerability. 
- The interactions between seaweed farming and climate change
For example the effects of changing climate and ocean acidification on seaweeds and seaweed farming, the ecological impacts of human responses to climate change (e.g. changes in seaweed farming practices), including resilience, adaptation and strategies for change.
- The interactions between seaweed farming and multiple stressors
For example how multiple stressors, such as other livelihood activities (e.g.  fishing), invasive species, pollution, sea temperature fluctuations, acidification, and diseases, interact with seaweed farming to affect marine ecosystems, including resilience, adaptation and strategies for change.


Earthwatch is looking to facilitate research in locations with high levels of biodiversity interest and significant seaweed farming activities. Priority will be given to research taking place in SE Asia (e.g. Philippines, Indonesia) with due consideration for security and logistic issues, and in which seaweed  is being farmed for hydrocolloid / carrageenan production.


The PhDs will involve substantial fieldwork at the designated research site(s), and should provide opportunities to engage stakeholders directly in fieldwork and educational activities. It is essential that at least one supervisor has a track record of working in the proposed region and that there is stakeholder (local and government) support for the project. Already established in-country partnerships e.g. with universities, local conservation NGOs or marine institutes, in addition to established links with industry stakeholders, will be viewed favourably.


The projects should aim to advance scientific understanding, and to create knowledge of direct relevance to driving standards and creating best practice in the sustainable production of carrageenan. Those supervising and/or undertaking the research will have a strong interest in natural resource management, sustainable supply chains, science communication, conservation and livelihoods to help facilitate interactions and outcomes beyond academia. Engagement with industry stakeholders will be integral to the projects, and applicants should explain how they will contribute to existing or planned work towards industry best practice standards or guidelines.


Priority will be given to applicants proposing two complementary PhD studentships, linked by a supervisor and working across disciplines e.g. ecology, socio-economics/ politics, natural resource management towards a common theme.


Eligibility: This award will be made to a registered academic institute.  This award is for two, 3-year PhD studentships, and provides annual funding to cover a stipend, basic research costs and tuition fees for full time students, either at the UK/EU rate or international rates. A small amount of additional funds will be available for industry/ stakeholder meetings, conference attendance etc.

Submission procedure: Applications are assessed via a two-stage process. Initial project concepts should be submitted by 14th April 2014 to Dr Jenny Cousins at jcousins@earthwatch.org.uk. Email for application form.  Please note that your co-applicants, Head of School, and Research and Enterprise Office must have given their approval of the application before it can be submitted. An invitation to progress to the second stage, including preparation of a more detailed proposal, will be communicated to those successful at the concept stage. PhD studentships to start October 2014 or January 2015 will be given priority.


Earthwatch (Europe) is an international environmental charity, whose mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. We support scientists who seek to inform solutions to environmental and cultural challenges.


Tate & Lyle PLC is a global food and beverage ingredients company which seeks to operate its business with a strong regard for environmental sustainability.   As part of its Community Involvement programme Tate & Lyle is working to promote environmental sustainability and good environmental management: addressing issues of climate change, water resources and conservation – particularly in relation to its supply chain.
 


Jenny Cousins <jcousins@earthwatch.org.uk>
Thursday, April 03, 2014

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