Designing effective strategies for bats for the mitigation of infrastructure development

An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the Faculty of Health & Applied Sciences, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded in partnership by UWE and National Grid: Ref 1920-OCT-HAS05

The expected start date of this studentship is Wednesday 1st January 2020.

The closing date for applications is Monday 21st October 2019. 

About the Studentship

Since the industrial revolution many landscapes have been impacted by anthropogenic change which has profoundly affected ecological communities. As awareness of the rapidity and magnitude of biodiversity loss has increased, there is a pressing need to ensure that all anthropogenic disturbances are sustainable and retain landscape function. The effectiveness of strategies to mitigate anthropogenic impacts are rarely tested and consequently end up being costly for the developer and ineffective for wildlife conservation. Monitoring of mitigation and compensation schemes is therefore a vital step to ensure that interventions are effective and proportionate. Working in close partnership with National Grid (NG) and Balfour Beatty, this studentship will develop an evidence base to inform strategies for the mitigation of the impacts infrastructure development has on bats and their habitats. The project will combine field and desk-based approaches to assess the effectiveness of bat flyway mitigation strategies and to model bat habitat use within the North Somerset and Mendip Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the Mendip Limestone Grasslands SAC. The project combines acoustic monitoring, thermal imagery, landscape modelling and mapping to develop evidence-based mitigation which will inform future infrastructure projects at both a national and local scale. An important component of the project will be the development of a modelling tool to allow NG to predict the likely impact of habitat fragmentation on wildlife and to ensure that cost- and time-effective surveying and monitoring is implemented.

The project is supervised by Dr Paul Lintott and Dr Emma Stone within their Bat Conservation Research Lab and funded by the University of the West of England and National Grid. Data collection will involve night work monitoring bats as well as time away from the university unsupervised. We are looking for candidates who are reliable, resourceful, and have a positive attitude to the challenges of fieldwork. Experience of ecological surveys, landscape modelling, and GIS is highly desirable. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders including developers, ecologists, bat groups, and research scientists is essential. Candidates must be able to drive and will begin data collection from April 2020. 

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Paul Lintott, paul.lintott@uwe.ac.uk.

Funding details

The studentship is available from 1st January 2020 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £15,009 per annum. 

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home/EU rates only). Overseas applicants will be required to cover the difference between Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates in each year of study.

Eligibility criteria

Ideal candidates will have a strong biological science background, with additional experience of geographical information systems, fieldwork, and statistical modelling.  Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Excellent English communication skills (speaking, writing, comprehension) is essential.  A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 1920-OCT-HAS05.

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application so please have these available when you complete the application form.

Research proposal: please explain, in no more than 500 words, how your skillset and experience could contribute to this proposed PhD project.

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references before you submit your application. 

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Monday 21st October 2019.

Further information

Interviews will take place on Friday 8th November 2019.  If you have not heard from us by Friday 15th November 2019, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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