About the Project
In many tropical counties, wildlife is hunted for meat (i.e., ‘wild meat’) and other body parts, supporting the diets, customs, and livelihoods of millions of people. However, unsustainable hunting is one of the most urgent threats to wildlife and ecosystems worldwide and has serious implications for people whose subsistence and income are tied to wild meat. Furthermore, the demand for wild meat in urban areas contributes to the unsustainable hunting of wildlife in rural areas and remains a significant challenge to biodiversity conservation.
The candidate will join an applied conservation research group with expertise on the hunting, consumption, and trade in wildlife (hereafter referred to collectively as ‘wildlife use’), and on pangolins. Focussing on sub-Saharan Africa (particularly West and Central Africa), the candidate will conduct advanced statistical methods to identify the factors that shape wildlife use. The candidate will either focus on all species used for wild meat or on African pangolins – please note this project is about local use, not international trafficking. They will also have the opportunity to contribute to the group’s new research programme aimed at understanding wildlife use in urban areas.
The candidate will have access to and be able to develop 1) data from a new large-scale research programme investigating the consumption of wildlife in African cities which is being collected in 2023, 2) a new database of studies on hunting, consumption, and trade of wildlife, and/or 3) a new separate database of ethnozoological uses of pangolins.
Whilst this is primarily an analytical project, there is a possibility within the PhD for the candidate to conduct a fieldwork project in West and/or Central Africa, where it might add value to the PhD. Depending on the candidates interests, the candidate will work across disciplines by harnessing methods from across conservation, social sciences, anthropology, and/or environmental psychology. This research has strong applied relevance, strengthening the evidence base needed to improve wildlife management across the tropics.
Anticipated start date: September 2023
We are looking for an enthusiastic self-motivated candidate with a strong interest in wildlife use as well as the below criteria.
A first degree and a Master’s (at least Merit) or substantial professional experience in a relevant field is required.
Experience analysing complex data using R.
Interest in conservation social science.
Knowledge of local uses of wildlife (e.g., wild meat, traditional medicine).
French language skills.
Experience with field work in the tropics.
Keen to develop their analytical skills.
This research group actively encourages and supports diversity of all kinds and would therefore encourage applicants to apply from diverse backgrounds.
Candidates should apply by 11th May 2023 23:59 (UK time) using the online application form, including a CV and Cover letter (see Funding Notes below), indicating the project above for which they wish to be considered.
This is a fully funded project for UK students, we do welcome applications from international students, but additional tuition fees apply (evidence of extra funding needs to be provided in the application cover letter).