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Biodiversity and sustainable food production in urban Ghana


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 5 June 2023
Project start date
Sunday 1 October 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
External organisation
Professor Martin Dallimer and Dr Steve Sait
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This fully funded PhD place provides an exciting opportunity to pursue postgraduate research and join an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers as part of the &ldquo;COMMONPATHS: Transition pathways for urban sustainability&rdquo; research project. COMMONPATHS includes researchers from the UK, Switzerland and Ghana.<br /> <br /> You will be one of two students (the other one will focus on how people relate to and perceive urban biodiversity) who, together, will explore how the quality of urban natural environments might facilitate or hinder the emergence, organisation and continuation of the commons as a form of management for urban greenspaces and urban agriculture. In particular, you will focus on the links between biodiversity, urban agriculture and ecosystem service provision. This is likely to include understanding pollinator diversity, abundance and efficacy, as well as the role of natural enemies in urban landscapes and the potential for biological control of urban agricultural pests to be an alternative to harmful chemical controls. The extent of fertiliser and pesticide use, and the presence of air, noise and light pollution and their impacts on the pollination and pest-natural enemy systems could also be explored.<br /> <br /> You will have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in Ghana with the support of, and in collaboration with researchers based in the country. As part of the COMMONPATHS project team, you will interact with other PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and academic staff based in Leeds, Switzerland and Ghana. You will also have excellent opportunities to learn new skills, build your understanding of international, interdisciplinary research, and be embedded in a network of researchers with diverse interests and backgrounds.<br /> <br /> The School of Earth and Environment invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2023/24. <br /> <br /> The award is open to full-time or part-time candidates (UK only) who have been offered a place on a PhD degree at the School of Earth and Environment. <br />

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px"><a href="">COMMONPATHS</a> is a four-year Sinergia research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.&nbsp; COMMONPATHS focuses on urban resources managed as commons &ndash; in Ghana and Switzerland &ndash; and examines how the collectives that manage them contribute to addressing the challenges of overconsumption and inequality. COMMONPATHS aims to understand better the emergence, organization, effects, and conditions of success of three commonification processes aimed at (1) greening cities, (2) creating affordable housing, and (3) supporting community-based agrifood initiatives. By focusing on the governance of these three resource systems, COMMONPATHS aims to analyse the conditions under which these movements effectively contribute to urban sustainability. COMMONPATHS is divided into three main phases. The first will overview commonification initiatives aimed at greening cities, creating affordable housing, and providing community-managed sustainable food. In the second phase, we will conduct in-depth case studies in Ghana and Switzerland. In the third phase, we will build on the latest developments in archetype analysis to identify patterns from the initiatives studied in phase 1, formulate design principles for sustainable commonification, and assess the potential for generalizing the results (scaling up). In transdisciplinary workshops organized in Switzerland and Ghana, we will also explore the conditions of the emergence of a post-growth urban society.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You will join an active and diverse cohort of PhD students as part of the <a href="">Sustainability Research Institute</a> (SRI) in the <a href="">School of Earth and Environment</a>, and in the <a href="">Ecology and Conservation</a> research group in the School of Biology, University of Leeds. SRI is one of the largest groupings of environmental social scientists in Europe. The institute explores a wide range of issues including climate change, energy, transport, water, resource use, land use, conservation, cities and communities, business and lifestyles. SRI specialises in participatory, action-oriented research that brings together government, business, NGOs and local communities to enhance the relevance, quality and practical influence of our research. Particular strengths of the Ecology and Conservation group include research on biodiversity and environmental change, ecological and sustainable agriculture, landscape ecology and conservation. You will also become part of a wider University of Leeds research community, The Global Food and Environment Institute (</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">First, apply for a research place of study, through the&nbsp;<a href="">online application form.</a>&nbsp;Please state clearly that the funding you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Biodiversity and sustainable food production in urban Ghana&rdquo; You will be expected to meet our&nbsp;<a href="">eligibility criteria&nbsp;</a>for PhD candidates.</p> <p>In order to be considered for the Studentship you must submit all the required supporting documents for your application for PhD study</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment wh<em>ere all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:11px"><span style="font-size:11pt"><span style="line-height:107%"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif">A full scholarship is available in the School of Earth and Environment to start in October 2023. The scholarship is open to UK applicants and covers fees plus the standard UKRI maintenance stipend for three and a half years.</span></span></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><strong>Information about the Award</strong></p> <ul> <li>We are offering one full time PHD scholarship in the School of Earth and Environment for a UK candidate including a maintenance grant that matches the UKRI stipend (currently &pound;17,668 in 2022/23) and UK tuition fees for three and a half years, subject to satisfactory progress.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p><strong>Duration of the Award</strong></p> <ul> <li>Full-time (three and a half years). The award will be made for one year in the first instance and renewable for a further period of up to two and a half years, subject to satisfactory academic progress.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Other Conditions</strong></p> <ul> <li>Applicants must not have already been awarded or be currently studying for a doctoral degree.</li> <li>Awards must be taken up by 1st&nbsp;October 2023.</li> <li>Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this scholarship.</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Martin Dallimer</a>:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or the PGR Admissions Team:</p>