University of St Andrews

‌PhD Funding Opportunities

Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

 

Our research students are funded from a wide range of sources including UK research councils, charities, industry partners, and overseas agencies.

For research council funding in the social sciences, please see the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS).

For research council funding in the physical sciences, please see the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership and the project list below.

For a complete list of current funding opportunities please see the database maintained by the University’s Scholarships Team.

Enquiries from self-funding students are welcome. Information on tuition fees and other costs of studying at St Andrews can be found on the University’s Fees and Funding page.

Details of any funding opportunities that are especially suitable for Geography/Sustainable Development students will also be posted below as they arise.

If you have queries about the following studentships please contact the PGR secretary, Helen Olaez.

 

 

Climate Change, Air Pollution and Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Analysis and Projection Based on Longitudinal Register Data from Scotland

Supervisors: Professor Hill Kulu, Prof Frank Sullivan (SoM) and Dr Urška Demšar (SGSD)

Objectives

The objectives of this PhD project are, first, to study effects of air pollution and extreme weather events on population health and mortality across ethnic groups, and, second, to project future health behaviour and mortality patterns as response to changes in weather and pollution. 

Context

Air pollution and extreme weather events (e.g. heat waves and cold spells; flooding) are increasingly common and have become part of our lives in the 21st century. Environmental effects on health in industrialised countries are predicted to be pronounced with rapidly ageing populations and increasing social inequalities. Previous studies show that extremely hot and cold weather increase mortality from heart and respiratory diseases. Research on environmental pollution and health shows that fine-particulate air pollution in cities increases the risk of mortality from various respiratory diseases. Although previous epidemiological research has advanced our understanding of environmental effects on population health and mortality, it has suffered from a number of shortcomings. First, most research focuses on age differences, little research (if any) has examined whether and how environmental effects on population health vary by race and ethnicity. Second, little research has been conducted to project how health behaviour and mortality patterns change with predicted climate changes. How many additional hospital visits and how many deaths we can expect if the frequency of extreme weather events and air pollution increases further? The analysis of environmental effects on population health by ethnic groups and the projection of future trends in mortality and hospital visits are the two novelties of the project.

Data and Methods

The PhD study will use individual-level data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and environmental data linked to individuals’ residential contexts. The SLS was initiated in 1991 and it contains linked census and vital events data on 5 per cent of the population of Scotland (approximately 274,000 individuals were selected in 1991; new individuals have entered into the study since 1991). The dataset includes information on socio-demographic characteristics and residential histories of individuals and their administrative health records including all hospital admissions and cause-specific deaths in the  Scottish population. We will link these data to environmental data from the Met. Office (meteorological observations of a number of relevant variables) and air quality data from the UK AIR – Air Information resource by DEFRA, which provides measurements of a number of air pollution indicators.

The project will apply random-effects and spatial survival models with time-varying contextual variables to study environmental effects on mortality and health behaviour including the frequency of hospitalisation. Using microsimulation the study will project health behaviour and mortality levels based on various assumptions of future weather changes, the frequency of extreme events and the levels of environmental pollution. 

The PhD project will deepen our understanding of environmental effects on population health by ethnic groups. It will develop microsimulation methodology to project the impact of extreme weather events on human health. 

The PhD studentship is a joint initiative between the School of Geography and Sustainable Development (SGSD) and the School of Medicine (SoM). 

Candidates must submit an online application by 10th May 2019 at the following Study at St Andrews link. Please apply to the “School of Geography and Sustainable Development” and to the programme “PhD Geography (Arts)”.  Please include a covering letter outlining your interest in environmental effects on human health and in applying advance quantitative methods in social and/or health science research. 

For enquiries related to the online application procedure, please contact Helen Olaez in the SGSD Postgraduate Office. Please include ‘St Leonard’s PhD studentship’ in the subject line of your email. 

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in late May. Skype interviews are possible.  

For informal inquiries, please contact Professor Hill Kulu or Professor Frank Sullivan. Please include ‘St Leonard’s PhD studentship’ in the subject line of your email.

For further information please select St Leonard’s Interdisciplinary PhD Studentship (PDF, 73 KB)

 

Scotland’s Deep-Water Blue Carbon Resources: Sources, Rates and Fates

Supervisor(s):  Professor William (Bill Austin), University of St Andrews (Lead); Professor John Baxter, University of St Andrews; Dr John Howe, Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Project Description:  

Sedimentary Carbon stores across large expanses of our sea floor are increasingly recognised as an important component of natural capital, offering a range of ecosystem services – the most prominent of which is the potential to sequester and store vast amounts of Carbon. Globally, efforts are underway to map a first-order understanding of these sedimentary Carbon stores, but to date there has been little focus on deep-water ecosystems. This project is aligned to the strategic priorities of developing a deep-water Marine Protected Area off Scotland’s west coast and will provide an opportunity to embed the consideration of the Blue Carbon resource within the area at the outset of the designation process and the subsequent consideration of the necessary management measures that will be required.

The project will deliver on a series of ambitious goals: (i) to map the distribution of sedimentary Carbon within the deep-water region west of Scotland, establishing new approaches to up-scaling estimates (and uncertainties) in deep-water Carbon content; (ii) to understand the rates of Carbon sequestration and the sources of that Carbon as they accumulate on the sea floor; (iii) to quantify the long-term burial term for Carbon to help build-up an improved understanding of the millennial-scale Carbon stock and to frame this in the context of adjacent shelf and terrestrial Carbon stock estimates; (iv) to undertake an assessment of the current impacts and likely benefits to Blue Carbon under the proposed MPA designation and in so-doing identify priority areas and action for protection.

The supervisors have expertise in the relevant fields, both Howe (SAMS) and Austin (USTAN/SAMS) have extensive experience of work in the area of shelf-slope sedimentary systems and stratigraphy spanning nearly 30 years; Baxter (USTAN) has extensive experience of MPA designation and policy-facing work after a long and extended career with SNH; all three are members of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum and have an excellent track-record of PhD supervision and collaborative working with Marine Scotland.

About the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) SUPER DTP PhD Studentships Competition

SUPER-NERC logo

Funding:

The 3.5 year studentships cover:

  • Tuition fees each year (for 2019/20 this is currently £4,327 for full-time study);
  • A maintenance grant each of around £15,000 per annum (for full-time study);
  • Funding for research training;
  • Part-time study is an option, with a minimum of 50% of full-time effort being required.

If you are selected for an award, you will be expected to start on 27th September 2019 and attend a SUPER DTP induction event in Glasgow on 1st October 2019, as well as the University of St Andrews Graduate induction (date to be confirmed). You will also be enrolled in the SUPER Graduate School and onto the SUPER Post Graduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

Eligibility:  

UK nationals are eligible for the full award.  

Eligibility for EU students starting in the 2019/20 academic year - The government has announced that EU nationals will remain eligible for research council studentships for the 2019/20 academic year on the same basis as is available at present (02 July 2018).

An EU student can only receive a fees only award unless:

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees), a student must satisfy all of these conditions:

  1. Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay.
  2. Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).

An International Student is not eligible for an award unless:

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees), a student must satisfy all of these conditions:

  1. Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay.
  2. Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).
  3. Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals.)

Deadline for Application:  Saturday 1st June 2019

Entry Requirements: A good first degree in a cognate subject

How to apply:  Please complete our online PhD Application and ensure that you do the following:

  • Apply to the “School of Geography and Sustainable Development”.
  • Apply to the programme “PhD Geography (Science)”.
  • Note on the application that you are applying for “SUPER DTP PhD Studentships Competition”.
  • Note that the title of the project is “Scotland’s Deep-Water Blue Carbon Resources: Sources, Rates and Fates”.
  • Name your principal supervisor Bill Austin.  
  • Please upload a sample of academic writing (minimum of 500 words).

Questions should be addressed to Professor Bill Austin

 

Modelling Short- and Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution and Temperature on Population Health and Mortality

Supervisors: Professor Hill Kulu, and Dr Urška Demšar

Objectives

The aims of this project are: First, to investigate short- and long-term effects of air pollution and extreme weather events on health and mortality across population subgroups in Britain. Second, to develop a multilevel survival model to study the effect of time-varying contextual factors on individuals’ health and mortality.

Context

Climate change has brought renewed interest in environmental effects on human health and mortality. Environmental effects on health in industrialised countries are predicted to be pronounced with rapidly ageing populations. Previous studies show that hot and cold weather increase mortality from heart and respiratory diseases. Other research reports that air pollution increases mortality from respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, the full effect of air pollution and extreme weather on individuals’ health is far from clear. Little research has examined long-term environmental effects on human health and how these effects vary across population subgroups. Many studies have applied conventional regression methods on hierarchical data; this approach leads to bias, the magnitude of which remains unclear.

Data and methods

The project will develop and apply a multilevel (random-effects) survival model to individual-level data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and the ONS Longitudinal Study (LS) linked to environmental data. The LS will provide the opportunity to study the effect of pollution and extreme weather on individuals’ health and mortality. The SLS data will be used to conduct detailed analysis of the impact of air pollution and (primarily) cold weather on individuals’ health and mortality, with information available on individuals’ residential histories and hospital visits. The project will improve our understanding of how extreme weather events and air pollution interact in influencing health and mortality of population subgroups in Britain. The developed method could be applied to study contextual effects on other domains of individuals’ behaviour (e.g. migration, fertility, employment).

Please apply by 10th April 2019 using the following link to CURRENT STUDENTSHIP OPPORTUNITIES. (Please click on ‘Apply now’ next to the project on “Modelling Short- and Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution and Temperature on Population Health and Mortality”.)

The studentship starts in October 2019.

For informal inquiries, please contact Professor Hill Kulu.

Please include ‘ESRC SGSSS PhD studentship’ in the subject line of your email.

For further information please select ESRC-SGSSS studentship (PDF, 396 KB)

 

Robertson Scholarship

The Robertson Scholarship, funded by a generous gift from Cornelius Robertson, is normally awarded to a postgraduate student in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The scholarship is worth £4000 per annum for three years, and can be used to help pay tuition fees, residence costs, and other related expenses. The award is normally made to a part-funded or entirely self-funded student. Applications by self- or part-funded candidates to our PhD research programmes that have been received by 31 March 2020 will be considered for this scholarship for 2020 entry.  The scholarship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit.  Please contact Helen Olaez if you wish to be considered.’

For further information please contact Helen Olaez.