A three year fully-funded PhD studentship at Cranfield University in the natural capital and landscape management informatics sector, partnering with Natural England and part of the DREAM Centre for Doctoral Training. Read more Read less

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with an interest and aptitude for transdisciplinary environmental research, particularly geographical information systems/spatial analysis, policy, decision-making and social sciences. The candidate will be a member of the NERC/ESRC DREAM Centre for Doctoral Training and will receive excellent support in terms of training and mentoring.

Landscape is the arena in which natural capital (providing ‘supporting’, ‘provisioning’, ‘regulating’ and ‘cultural’ ecosystem goods and services) interacts with elements of the other four ‘capital’s’ to create the real places that people inhabit, derive benefits from and care about. Throughout time, landscapes change as a result of natural processes but the rate of change is now orders of magnitudes greater due to anthropogenic activity. Thus key questions facing those organisations involved in landscape management and policy include:

• Is the rate of landscape change taking place today sustainable in terms of conserving the diversity of character and functions? and critically

• How resilient are England’s landscapes to change?

Natural England is one such organisation, responsible for delivering the Government Agenda in this field. Conservation 21 – Natural England’s conservation strategy for the 21st Century, places emphasis on ‘resilient landscapes’. Significantly they argue that ‘resilient’ landscapes must be both ecologically and culturally resilient (implying culturally valued/supported/voted-for etc.), highlighting that landscapes lacking cultural resilience are unlikely to be ecologically resilient in the long term.

Working in partnership with Natural England’s Strategy Team, this exciting studentship will investigate the use of big data relating to natural and social sciences, together with, for example Virtual Reality visualisation and big data techniques, to provide an holistic, integrated analysis of ecosystem service provision as experienced through society’s perception of the changing landscapes around them and in a way that secures assessment of ecological and cultural aspects of the management of the natural environment equally. This will then enable development of management and intervention aimed at enhancing natural capital, ecosystem goods and services in their cultural context, by testing different scenarios. The studentship will be based in the Cranfield’s Agri-informatics Institute and make extensive use of the NERC-funded ‘Ecosystem Services Databank and Visualisation for Terrestrial Informatics’ Laboratory, which includes a Virtalis stereo VR system and GeoVisionary software, and Occulus Rift suite.

Cranfield Doctoral Network:

The studentship will be part of the NERC ‘DREAM’ Centre for Doctoral Training (www.dream-cdt.ac.uk), offering an attractive stipend, a strong professional development ethos and fantastic training provision. Its research experience combines academic rigour with real-world problem solving, ensuring opportunities to progress your career in the conservation informatics sector. Researchers will study for a PhD, benefiting from expertise, events and courses run at all four of the DREAM partner universities (Cranfield, Cambridge, Newcastle, Birmingham).

Research students at Cranfield also benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

At a glance

  • Application deadline01 May 2018
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Duration of award3 years
  • EligibilityEU, UK
  • Reference numberSWEE0029


Dr. Simon Jude

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level of equivalent in subjects such as Geography, Environmental Science, Ecology, Computing or Psychology. We are particularly interested in applicants with an interest in pursuing novel transdisciplinary environmental research.


Sponsored by Natural England and NERC, this studentship will provide an initial bursary of £17,500, rising to £18,500 p.a. in the final year (tax free) plus fees* for three years.


* To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national.We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has 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). Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK. 

How to apply

For further information please contact: Dr Simon Jude, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Decision Making, E: s.jude@cranfield.ac.uk, T: (0) 1234 754295

To apply, please complete and submit the application form online at DREAM.

For further information contact us today:

T: +44 (0)1234 758082
E: studyenvironment@cranfield.ac.uk