samedi 9 avril 2011

PhD Position, Aberdeen

Nature conservation, digital technologies and the ecology of red kites within reintroduced UK populations

Supervisor(s): Dr René van der Wal (ACES, Ecology), Prof Steve Redpath (ACES, Ecology), Dr Advaith Siddharthan (Computer Science), Prof J Wilson (RSPB) Funded by: dot.rural

Standard EPSRC rates are currently £13,590/annum. The studentship will be fully funded by dot.rural, which is supported by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme (

(Applications from international applicants can be accepted provided they can confirm that they can meet the difference between UK/EU and overseas tuition fees from their own resources. For academic year 2010/11 this will be £8,675.)

PhD commences on 1st July 2011 (latest).

To apply, complete the application form ( downloadable from ) and send it to along with a covering letter, an up-to-date CV and 2 academic references.

Send to Mrs M Pignotti, School of Biological Sciences, Cruickshank Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3UU. E-mail is the preferred mode of application – Information

A fully-funded interdisciplinary PhD studentship is available at dot.rural. This research hub at Aberdeen University has received £11.8M over 5 years from RCUK, as a part of the Digital Economy Programme.

This PhD studentship, on the interface of Ecology and Computing Sciences, is part of a project with the overarching aim to investigate how innovative digital technologies can be employed within Nature Conservation to canvass both wider interest and public participation in monitoring activities.

We are seeking a creative Ecologist with an interest in digital technology, who is keen and able to conduct ecological studies of red kites that form part of UK reintroduction schemes. The scope is not pre-defined but aimed at (i) generating valuable ecological insights on the ways red kites use the rural landscapes they inhabit; (ii) using this data to allow the development of an interactive web-based learning environment in which red kites ‘become alive’; and (iii) evaluate how such internet-based information is appraised.

We envisage the PhD to comprise field studies in NE Scotland and S England, and statistical analysis of existing bird distribution data from across the UK. Importantly, this information will be used to contextualise and enrich narratives reporting on distribution patterns of satellite-tagged kites from the Black Isle to which we have access through partnership with the RSPB’s Eyes-to-the-Skies project. These web-based narratives will be constructed with computer science technologies such as Natural Language Generation NLG). The student will work together with a computer science PDRF to develop this public communication tool, and will be encouraged to investigate the role of NLG derived text in fostering self-learning and the interpretation of bird distribution maps.

The successful candidate is expected to have a first or upper second class degree (or an equivalent thereof) in Ecology or a related discipline, with an awareness of the nature conservation arena and a strong interest in digital technology and its use in society. Good understanding of statistics is required and the use of GIS beneficial.

The studentship is available for 3.5 years and covers UK/European tuition fees, plus a stipend at currently £13,590 (tax free).

Cited reference:

To apply, see FindaPhD:

Rene van der Wal
Senior Lecturer - Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES),

University of Aberdeen, School of Biol Sciences,

Auris, 23 St. Machar Drive (room G48), AB24 3UU Aberdeen.

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272256, email:
Information about ACES: New MRes programme Ecology & Environmental Sustainability:

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.