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Deer MATRIX: Modelling and Technological Research for Intelligence eXchange


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Wednesday 26 June 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Dr Alastair Ward
Additional supervisors
Dr Anna Riach, Prof Graham Smith, Dr Simon Croft, Mr Richard Budgey
School of Biology
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

One full scholarship is available in the School of Biology in 2024/25. This is open to UK applicants on a full-time basis and covers fees, research costs and stipend. <br /> <br /> As part of a partnership between the Animal and Plant Health Agency&rsquo;s National Wildlife Management Centre (NWMC) and the School of Biology, University of Leeds, we are seeking a postgraduate student to develop mathematical models of British deer populations that can be simulated at multiple spatial scales in order to scenario-test natural events (such as disease outbreaks) and policy options for their control. Models will perform best when informed by empirical data. Collation of extant data on species distributions, densities and vital rates will likely need to be supplemented by the collection of new data on, for example, movement dynamics. <br /> <br /> The School of Biology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who have a 2.1 or 1st class first degree or masters degree in mathematical modelling (or similar) and a demonstrable interest in wildlife ecology or a 2.1 or 1st class first degree or masters degree in animal ecology (or similar) and advanced numerical skills.

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

<p>Growing, spreading populations of wild deer across the northern hemisphere bring conservation benefits and anthropocentric challenges. Not least, the impacts of wild deer on vegetation may impede efforts to boost woodland biodiversity and sequester carbon. Moreover, climate change is exacerbating the spread of pathogens, including those that can be perpetuated in livestock with the support of wild deer populations. The UK faces the added challenge of four of its six species of wild deer being invasive non-native species. The NWMC undertakes research to inform Government policies to avoid or mitigate impacts of wildlife and pathogens of wildlife on anthropocentric interests. We thus wish to collate and collect evidence of national deer population dynamics and movements in order to model the potential consequences of policy implementation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The precise structure of the project will be defined by the student in consultation with the supervisory and advisory team. The project themes are likely to include: collation of extant data on British deer populations, species distribution and abundance modelling, collection of novel data on deer movements, individual-based models of each species of British deer, scenario tests of specific disease outbreaks and policy options for their control.&nbsp;</p> <p>Working both in the School of Biology and at the NWMC at Sand Hutton, the student will drive the project&rsquo;s direction and will learn advanced data collation and curation approaches, statistical analysis, spatial modelling, individual-based modelling and some field skills. Training will also be provided in research project management, and there may be opportunities to engage with government policy-makers.</p> <h5>Other conditions</h5> <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 1<sup>st</sup>&nbsp;October 2024.</li> <li>Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds or Sand Hutton whilst in receipt of this scholarship.</li> </ul>

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

<p>To apply for this scholarship opportunity applicants should complete an <a href="">online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support their application.</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this scholarship project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> <li>For source of funding please state you are applying for the APHA School of Biology scholarship.</li> </ul> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Within the Faculty of Biological Sciences 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>&nbsp;</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.

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

<p>We are offering one full-time scholarship in the School of Biology for one UK candidate, covering a maintenance grant matching the UKRI stipend (&pound;19,237 for 2024/25) and UK tuition fees for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. The award will be made for one year in the first instance and renewable for a further period of up to 2 years, subject to satisfactory academic progress.</p>

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

<p>For further information about the project, please contact Alastair Ward.</p> <p>e: <a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about the admissions process, please contact the Faculty admissions team.</p> <p>e: <a href=""></a></p>