Postgraduate study at SEI

Sphagnum Spreading 1

Doing a PhD with SEI at our York office gives you the opportunity to study in a beautiful medieval city in northern England, surrounded by world-class researchers who are working on environment and development issues at a local, national, regional and global level. 

Our staff and PhD students sit together in a large, bright office in a new building on the Heslington West campus at the University of York. We are an international and diverse group of people, welcoming of everyone. We offer full and part-time options for study.

Our goal is to bring about change for sustainable development by bridging science and policy through integrated analysis that supports decision makers. We are consistently in the top ten global Environment think tanks, which demonstrates our success in achieving this ambitious aim.

Why York?

‌‌SEI Environment Building

Our York office undertakes research in a wide variety of fields including air quality, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, well-being and behavioural change, participatory research (including citizen science), and ecosystem services.

‌We are looking for enthusiastic, motivated and talented students to undertake postgraduate study in these research areas. 

Although you will be based in our York office, there is the opportunity to work with researchers across the different SEI centres (Stockholm, Sweden; Boston, California and Seattle (USA), Bangkok, Thailand; Nairobi, Kenya; Oxford, UK); and Bogotá, Colombia as well as with colleagues in other departments at the University of York. 

We are located within the Environment Building at the University of York, where we enjoy close research and teaching collaboration with the Department of Environment and Geography. We also have links to other departments and research centres within the University such as the Management School and the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre  You will have access to all the University facilities including library, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, our network of world-class researchers, training and development opportunities, student support services.


SEI is pleased to host students from across the globe undertaking Post-graduate study

We have limited places available for postgraduate study so have strict eligibility criteria. You need a good (1st or 2.1) undergraduate degree, excellent English proficiency and a proven dedication to environmental research.

Details of fees for studying at York can be found here, which also provides information on how you can get help with obtaining funding. 

For students wishing to apply from abroad these links might be of some use: - Commonwealth students only 

Application procedure

The first step in applying for a PhD at SEI York is to get in touch with your potential supervisor.  A list of SEI staff eligible to be first or second supervisor can be found below. Other SEI staff can also provide support with supervising PhD students, please see the Our staff pages for details.

Steve Cinderby - community resilience, urbanisation and their links to well-being

Simon Croftmulti-regional input-output modelling, supply chain tracking and analysis, impacts of global supply chains, sustainable consumption and production, food systems

Alison Dykecitizen science, public engagement and governance aspects of plant health 

Lisa Emberson - air pollution and climate change, and their impacts on agricultural yields and ecosystem productivity

Jon Ensoradaptation, resilience and transformation; participatory technology development, community- and rights-based approaches to the governance of environmental change

Jon Green -  agricultural commodity trade, sustainable consumption and production, supply chain tracking and analysis, biodiversity impact metrics, conservation science, natural capital, and corporate engagement

Andreas Heinemeyer - terrestrial carbon cycling, with a particular focus on peatlands

Kevin Hicks - air pollution impacts on terrestrial ecosystems, ecosystem services, and policy engagement

Johan Kuylenstierna - climate change and air pollution, policy processes

Corrado Topi - global supply chains, ecosystem services, predictive modelling, green economy

Harry Vallack - air pollution emission inventory preparation and scenario building

Chris West - sustainable consumption and production, supply-chain impacts, food systems and commodity trade

Sarah West - citizen science, participatory research, science communication, environmental education

After you have contacted a potential supervisor, they may request further information on your research ideas and follow up with a Skype / phone call. If they feel your work is a good fit for SEI, then you will be invited to formally apply through the University of York, usually via Environmental Economics and Environmental Management MPhil or PhD.   

Our students

The following students are at least 50% under the supervision of SEI staff:

Manogna Goparaju

Manogna Goparaju Profile picture

Supervisors: Dr Corrado Topi and Prof Piran White (Dept of Environment and Geography)

In 2013 the Indian government amended its 1956 Companies Act to include corporate social responsibility (CSR) into it, making it mandatory for a category of private sector organisations. Manogna's PhD aims to map the consequences of this newly institutionalised law and the effects it has on the private sector in India as well as on the concept of CSR. Additionally, the research aims to understand the drivers and barriers that organisations have while adopting and implementing CSR. 



Ginelle Greene

Ginelle Green Profile Photo

Supervisor: Dr Corrado Topi and Prof Tony Heron (Politics Dept)

Ginelle works with both the Department of Politics and SEI. Her research is focused on the topic of sustainable green transition and climate governance: explaining processes and outcomes. Specifically, she is interested understanding and explaining variances across multiple case studies, using the example of small island developing states.


Jehad Jabr Nasser Albusaidi

Jehad Al Busaidi Profile Picture

Supervisors: Prof Lisa Emberson, Dr Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna and Dr Harry Vallack

Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone have detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems, as well as being the main contributors to Climate change after CO2. Jehad's research is developing an enhanced Environment Management System that can address SLCPs in the Sultanate of Oman. SLCP emmissions have risen rapidly since the discovery oil in the 1980s. She will focus on the development and implementation of polices including the improvement of planning, monitoring and their management in order to reduce SLCPs and their impacts. 

Olajide Omotola Olawoyin

Olajide Olawoyin

Supervisors: Prof Lisa Emberson and Dr Harry Vallack

Jide's research will build and enhance regional capacity for managing air quality in West Africa. His focus is on those atmospheric pollutants which affect human health, crop yield, and vegetation and climate in the near-term.  This research will lead to a better understanding of emissions trends and impacts in the region and will explore what this means for both national and regional air quality policies.


 Anjar Priandoyo

Anjar Priandoyo Profile Picture

Supervisors: Prof Lisa Emberson and Dr Harry Vallack

Anjar's research is about the environmental impact of energy development in relation to low carbon energy supply and reduced emissions of short lived climate pollutants. The research will develop scenarios which consider the feasibility and the likelihood of policy implementation in Indonesia.



Ruchirek Ratchaburi

Ruchirek Ratchaburi profile picture

Supervisors: Dr Kevin Hicks, Prof Lisa Emberson and Dr Chris Malley

Ruchirek's (Tar) research focuses on the assessment of the contribution of long-range transport to annual average PM10 concentrations in Thailand. 



Guido Rutten

 Guido Rutten Profile Picture

Supervisor: Dr Steve Cinderby

Guido is a PhD student with SEI York and also works with the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). His research looks at how complex adaptive systems theory is being applied in engineered social-ecological systems, trying to better understand how people use concepts such as adaptability, resilience and robustness. He uses a comparative case study analysis between Viet Nam and the Netherlands, zooming in on freshwater management under changing climatic and environmental conditions.

 Alda Tono

Alda Tomo Profile Picture

 Supervisor: Dr Jon Ensor and Dr Peter Howley

Alda’s research looks at the role of ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change and its implication for rural households' welfare in Mozambique.  Her research focuses specifically on the issues of integration of the principles of ecosystem-based adaptation to address climate change, with particular focus on drought management in the context of agriculture and food security in Mozambique.


Carina Mueller PhD student

Supervisors: Dr Chris West and Professor Dr Bob Doherty (School of Management)

Carina's PhD is looking at the link between consumption and international Natural Capital impacts and dependencies. Her research is particularly interested in methods to understand the consequences of agricultural consumption decisions on global ecosystem services and Natural Capital (‘global telecoupling’). Using novel data on the transparency and traceability of globalised supply chains, material trade flow modelling and satellite-derived land cover maps will allow to take into account the spatial heterogeneity in ecosystem quality of agricultural production regions.

M M Golam Rabbani

 Rabbani is a PhD student at the Environment and Geography department, working on the perception on environmental migration under the supervision of Dr John Forrester and Dr Joshua Krishner since October, 2018.

Supervisors:  Dr John Forrester and Dr Joshua Krishner (Dept of Environment and Geography)

Rabbani's research specifically focuses the perception of Environmental Migration. He is looking in the developing country context, Bangladesh, where he grew up. Read more >>

Christine Gemell-Ferguson

Supervisors: Dr Steve Cinderby, Dr Sarah West and Dr Alison Dyke

Christine is a Human Geography and Environment PhD Student working on environmental communication. Her research focuses on quantifying the effects of environmental campaigns on pro-environmental behaviour.
Sergio Paramo Ortiz Supervisors: Dr Corrado Topi and Dr Samarthia Thankappan (Dept Environment and Geography)

Exploring the nature of social innovations generated by social enterprises: the case of Mexico

Other students (information to follow): William Burn, Joanne Morris, Abby Mycroft,  Maigari Dauda, Sitong Mu

Former students:

Chubamenla Jamir, Leha Jeha, Andriannah MBandi, Phoebe Morton, Stephanie Osborne, Guilia Paggiola, Tortrakal Wattanoavorakijkul




What do our researchers go on to do?


Student: Andriannah Mbandi

Supervisors: Dr Dieter Schwela and  Prof Lisa Emberson

Years: 2013-2017

Research: Andriannah's research focussed specifically on the contribution of road transport emissions to air pollution in Sub-Saharan African cities.

Now: Undertaking research related to transport emissions in Nairobi

Read her blog posts here:

 - Can a sustainable transport road map support Africa’s development agenda?

Follow her on Twitter: @AndriannahM
 Andriannah Mbandi

Student: Phoebe Morton

Supervisor: Dr Andreas Heinemeyer

Years: 2013-2017

Research:  Effects of different types of heather management on peatland vegetation, carbon dynamics, greenhouse gas fluxes and water quality.

Now: Post-Doctoral Research Assistant at Ulster University

Phoebe Morton

Phoebe worked on a Defra funded project (BD5104) looking at peatland management and ecosystem services in the UK. Through this work, she has gained a deep understanding of management of upland areas and their importance for local industries. Her research included lab experiments to determine which peatland components (e.g. plant roots or fungi) have led to the observed increase in water colour over recent years; water table manipulations to improve C calculations; and an assessment of the different managements on the nutritional value of heather and species composition. 

Phoebe now has a position as Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on a water project based in Northern Ireland (Ulster Univ). Follow her on Twitter:  PhoebeM_SEI


Student: Stephanie Osborne

Supervisor: Prof Lisa Emberson and Dr Gina Mills (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, CEH)

Years: 2014-2017

Research: Assessing Ozone impacts on crops in South Asia. 

Now: Research Analyst for the UK Civil Service

Steph Osborne

Steph's research project focussed on quantifying the effect which rising levels of ground-level ozone around the world is likely to have on the growth, physiology and yield of soybean and wheat.



Student: Chubamenla Jamir

Supervisor: Prof Lisa Emberson

Years: 2008-2012

Research: Assessing Ozone impacts on arable crops in South Asia. 

Now: Assistant Professor at the Department for Natural Resources at TERI University, India

 Chuba Jamir

Chuba's research investigated the impacts of the air pollutant ozone on key staple crops of  south Asia (wheat, rice, soybean and potato) and found that yield losses of between 5 and 15% occurred frequently across the region. The study was also able to identify co-varying factors that contributed to risk including proximity to ozone precursor emission sources, local meteorology and crop physiology. This information was used to identify phenological traits (crop sowing dates and maturing periods) that might alter the sensitivity of new cultivars to ozone for use in informing future crop biotechnology efforts.  

Chuba is now Assistant Professor at the Department for Natural Resources at TERI University, India. Visit her page here.


For informal enquiries please contact: sei-phd-enquiries@york,