Apply for a funded PhD position
We offer a range of PhDs funded by different sources, such as research councils, industries or charities. As a PhD student, you will become a valued member of a research group. Here you will work with internationally respected academics, post-doctoral research associates and technicians. Find out more about our research groups below.
How to Apply
To apply for a funded PhD please read the advertised project information carefully as requirements will vary between funders. The project information will include details of funding eligibility, application deadline dates and links to application forms. Only applicants who have a relevant background and meet the funding criteria can be considered.
Current PhD Opportunities
Informing solar park management for ecological gains in Greece - Masters by Research
Dr Alona Armstrong (Lancaster) and Professor Piran White (York)
Why this project is important
Land use change for solar parks is accelerating but implications for biodiversity, natural capital and ecosystem services are poorly understood. This poses a risk that climate change benefits from solar may lead to local scale ecosystem degradation and misses an opportunity to embed environmental co-benefits into energy system decarbonisation. The way in which solar parks are managed can have a significant impact on ecological outcomes. The Solar Park Impacts on Ecosystem Services (SPIES) tool has been created for the UK. The SPIES tool enables users to determine potential ecosystem service outcomes of a range of solar park management options, grounded in scientific evidence. The SPIES tool has proved useful in industry and is highlighted in the UK and European solar industry best practice guidelines. However, the evidence base has been selected to inform the management of solar parks in the UK. Many solar parks are deployed in more arid regions, and how they are best managed remains a critical knowledge gap. Moreover, as environmental policies progress and industry environmental targets are developed, there is also a need to provide robust quantification of the ecological impacts of solar parks. A standardised protocol has been developed for the UK, but this is UK-specific and needs amending for application in other nations.
This project will develop a reduced version of the SPIES tool to inform solar park management in Greece and adapt the UK standardised protocol to inform the collation of data that can be used to quantify the ecological impacts. The bulk of this Masters by Research project will be desk-based, with the student undertaking a systematic review and extracting evidence to develop a version of the SPIES tool for application within Greece. The student will also conduct literature searches and interact with Greek experts to develop a Greece-focused standardised monitoring protocol. This will be facilitated by two visits to Greece (expenses covered), one in November/December to visit some solar parks and speak with experts and the second in spring to assist with field data collection with collaborators and to run a workshop.
What’s in it for the candidate
Within this one-year Masters by Research project, the successful candidate will develop expertise in an important and emerging sector, developing their environmental and renewable energy expertise. They will develop a decision support tool and standardised protocol that we aim to be adopted by the Greek solar industry. They will gain experience of overseas fieldwork and develop an understanding of ecological and energy challenges in another nation. The project is in collaboration with an international renewable energy company, Clarkson & Woods and Wychwood Biodiversity, giving them experience of both the solar industry and ecological consultancy. Given the relevance of the topic they will also be involved in producing a policy orientated-output, providing additional experience. The student will be embedded in the supportive Energy & Environment Team with Lancaster Environment Centre, and co-supervised by Professor Piran White from the University of York, providing access to a wide range of training opportunities, facilities and networks.
Who should apply
We are looking for an enthusiastic and determined student who wishes to work with us on this topical and timely project with a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level. The project would suit a candidate with a background in environmental science, ecology, and geography or be able to demonstrate the required skills. They will be supported by experienced supervisors with experience of working with industry and receive appropriate training.
The tuition fees and the travel, accommodation and subsistence for the trips to Greece will be covered by an international renewable energy company. There is no stipend included in this funding.
- Deadline for applications: 28th September 2022
- Provisional interview date: 30th September 2022
- Start date: October 2022
Interested applicants are strongly advised to get in touch to learn more about the PhD project. Please contact Dr Alona Armstrong (email@example.com) or Professor Piran White (Piran.firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Download the LEC Funded PhD Application Form and LEC Funded PhD Reference Form.
- Complete the Application Form, renaming the document with your 'Name and Application Form' e.g., Joe Bloggs Application Form.
- Submit the completed Application Form and a CV to email@example.com
- Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted.
- Rename the referee form with your ‘Name and Reference’, e.g., Joe Bloggs Reference. Send the renamed reference form to two referees and request them to forward the referee document to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted. It is important that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.
- You will receive a generic acknowledgement in receipt of successfully sending the application documents.
- Please note that only applications submitted as per these instructions will be considered.
- Please note that, if English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. This evidence is only required if you are offered a funded PhD and is not required as part of this application process.
- Please note that, if you do not hear from us within four weeks of the closing date then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion. If you would like feedback on your application, please contact the supervisors of the project.
Submit all applications and references to this email address: email@example.com
How the application process works
- Select the project you wish to apply for. You can make informal enquiries to the project supervisors if you wish. Please ensure that you check the application deadline dates and eligibility criteria.
- Complete your application by following the links to the application form. At this stage, you are able to apply for more than one advertised project if you wish.
- After the closing date, the Department will consider all applications. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. Interviews can be arranged by Skype or telephone. The timescale for this will vary but is in the region of 4 weeks.
- If you are successful at interview for the studentship, you will be invited to formally apply via the admissions portal online. This ensures that you receive a formal offer of admission. Please submit one application only, and state the studentship that you have applied for in the source of funding section.
- Once a formal offer has been made, you will need to check the conditions in your offer letter and supply any outstanding documents by the required deadlines. If your offer is unconditional then this will not apply to you.