L&NS PhD Studentship (Psychology) - Studentship & Funding opportunities - University of Derby

PhD Research Studentship in Human Sciences Research Centre and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

Bridging the Value Action Gap: Measuring and improving conservation behaviours for human and nature’s well-being

Human Sciences Research Centre and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre

College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby


Qualification type:

PhD (Traditional Route)


University of Derby, Kedleston Road campus

Funding for:

UK Students, EU Students, International Students

Funding amount:





23 March 2018



About the studentship:

Applications are invited for a full-time PhD research studentship (traditional route) commencing May 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful applicant will work within the Nature Connections Research Group, affiliated with the Human Sciences Research Centre and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at the University of Derby to address a predefined research topic (see details below).

The PhD research studentship will be granted subject to the interview process, and following satisfactory progress, you will receive £14,553 p.a. for three years and your fees will be fully covered at a UK/EU level. If your application is successful and you are assessed as Overseas for fees purposes, you will need to pay the difference between the Home/EU fees and the Overseas fees. Funding will be awarded for a period of up to three years subject to satisfactory progress.

About the research topic:

Our planet is experiencing a mass extinction that will have cascading consequences on the global ecosystem and human civilization. There is a need for government and individual action to halt and reverse nature’s decline. Despite campaigns and guidance on pro-nature human behaviour 72% of people report a gap between attitudes, intentions and actions even without situational barriers. There is a need to use psychology to help save biodiversity and human well-being.

Working closely with The Wildlife Trusts, the project will develop a scale to measure conservation-related behaviours grounded in ecological impact and bridge the ‘value-action’ gap by moving beyond rationalistic campaign models to cognitive science research that can show the primary role emotions have in changing attitudes and motivating action.

The project will involve a theoretical understanding of the cognitive and behavioural explanations of conservation behaviour (e.g. dual process theory, charitable decision-making) in order to test how developing an emotional connection to nature relates to conservation related attitudes, behaviours and pro-nature actions. The successful student will also work with The Wildlife Trusts to test effective messaging and interventions for turning increased nature connection into pro-conservation behaviour. There is also an aim to test whether bridging the gap to prompt pro-conservation actions also brings human well-being benefits.

Further information about the research environment and supervisory package

This is a collaborative study between academic staff from the University of Derby UK, and staff at The Wildlife Trusts head office in Newark. The project will be based in Derby, but there will be a need for some travel to Newark and other Wildlife Trust sites. You will be supervised by Dr Miles Richardson, Dr Ed Stupple and Associate Prof. Michael Sweet from the University of Derby. Dr Andrew Ramsey (University of Derby) will act as an advisor.

We will ensure that you have the required training necessary for you to complete your PhD and encourage you to attend at least one international or national conference associated with the above research topic during your studentship.

Please see the staff profiles or email the Director of Studies for more information related to this project. Dr Miles Richardson, email: m.richardson@derby.ac.uk


We are looking for a highly-motivated graduate student who is capable of studying at PhD level and enjoys both independent and applied collaborative research. Prospective candidates are also expected to have a good Honours degree. An interest in the research topic and expertise in psychology is essential, with combined knowledge in conservation ecology being useful, although not essential.

For details of how to apply, please see:

For information about how to apply, please visit: http://www.derby.ac.uk/research/degrees/apply

In addition to the application documents listed as required on the website, please upload the supporting documents listed below:

  1.  A 2 page curriculum vitae
  2.  A 500 word personal statement explaining your interest in and aptitude for this project. In particular we would like to learn about what skills you feel you can bring to the project and any novel ideas you would like to take forward under this theme if given the opportunity. Please reference where necessary.

Completed applications should be sent to Research Student Office at researchoffice@derby.ac.uk, quoting reference number L&NS_Psychology_PGRS_0318

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Miles Richardson, email: m.richardson@derby.ac.uk. Please note that applications sent directly to this email addresses will not be accepted. If no contact has been received by the interview date the application has been unsuccessful.

Closing Date: 23 March 2018

Interviews: 20 April 2018

If you have not been invited for interview by the interview date, please assume that on this occasion your application has not been successful. 

This studentship is funded by the University of Derby as part of the College of Life and Natural Sciences REF investment bid.

Studentships are available to UK/EU and International applicants. If your application is successful and you are assessed as Overseas for fees purposes, you will need to pay the difference between the Home/EU fees and the Overseas fees.