PhD studentship: ‘Economic Models for Ecosystem Restoration’

Institution: University of York


Duration: 3 years

Apply by: Wednesday 4th February 2015

Fully Funded PhD

Fully funded for a minimum of 3 years, studentships cover: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (estimated to be £14,002 per annum for 2015-2016), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements. Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.


Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent. There are language requirements for international students.


Open to UK and EU Nationals only.


Many of our natural ecosystems have become so degraded by human activities that they can only recover through large-scale restoration projects. Successful ecosystem restoration provides conservation benefits and can also provide a range of new social and economic values to society. The range of benefits can be both private and public, and local and global, and can vary over space and time. Moreover, many of the benefits are not easily monetized and can have a high degree of uncertainty. Understanding the potential economic benefits and risks of ecosystem restoration is therefore a considerable challenge, and one where traditional, static benefit-cost approaches have limited usefulness. Instead, methodological approaches that account for complex dynamic of interactions between ecological services and ecosystem management are therefore needed. Indeed, ecosystem restoration has been identified as a frontier area for new methodologies cutting across conservation biology and economics.

In this project, the PhD student will develop an integrated ecological-economic modelling approach to evaluate the complex dynamics (i.e., temporal and spatial trade-offs and synergies) in ecosystem services affected by restoration. The model will be used to assess the net benefits of restoration under different quantitative scenarios of environmental and management-related factors, including uncertainties, stochasticity, and social preferences regarding ecosystem service provision. The modelling work will be parameterised with data from the Humberhead Peatlands, which is the focus of a major EU LIFE+ project coordinated by Natural England to restore this lowland peatland of major international significance.

The studentship will be based in the Environment Department at the University of York, working within an interdisciplinary research team (Professor Piran White, Dr Kathryn Arnold and Dr Julia Touza). The PhD student will also interact closely with Natural England. The PhD student would also become a member of NRG BESS, a national network of PhD and early career researchers focusing on natural capital and ecosystem services.

To Apply

Please go to our on-line application system and apply via the Environment Department, Environmental Economics and Environmental Management PhD programme.

Closing Date for Applications: 4th February 2015

Informal Enquiries can be addressed to Dr Julia Touza (

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