PhD in Biological Sciences

Location: United Kingdom
Application Deadline: 15 May 2024
Published: 1 month ago

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Key Information

Funding provider: Swansea University

Subject areas: Animal behaviour, Biologging, Physiology, Endocrinology, Metagenomics

Project start date:

  • July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)
  • October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project supervisors: 

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Biological Sciences

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description:

Many animals form stable social relationships between specific individuals. These relationships are extremely beneficial but also come with costs. For example, trade-offs exist with respect to stress (social buffering versus social stress) and transmission of health (beneficial gut microbiota) and disease (parasites, viruses) but are little understood because of the challenges of collecting appropriate data in the wild. To understand these trade-offs, this interdisciplinary PhD will use and extend a worldwide unique data set on wild baboon social behaviour and health. Sociality is studied in unprecedented detail, with simultaneous data for 16 individuals. GPS and acceleration data from bespoke tracking collars provide information on behaviour and social interactions/proximity every second over several months. Health information comes from >350 urine and >600 faecal samples collected in the field. These samples are matched to individuals and time periods, affording non-invasive investigation of reproductive state, stress physiology, immune function, energy and metabolic status, parasite load, and microbiome composition. Combining these data on baboon sociality and health therefore provides rare opportunity to investigate how and why social relationships evolve, and their consequences for individuals’ health.

Eligibility

Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level in Biosciences or a related subject, or a master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

The ideal candidate will have a master’s level degree, research interests and expertise in animal behaviour and physiology, and excellent data handling and analysis skills relevant to the project. Applications from candidates with a strong quantitative background but without a first degree in biology are also encouraged. Please get in touch for enquiries or more details.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in.

Funding

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Biological Sciences / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / July (or October)In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email pgrscholarships@swansea.ac.uk where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.
  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS562 – Baboon Sociality & Health

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University:

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised closing date, where possible:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Ines Fürtbauer (i.fuertbauer@swansea.ac.uk).

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

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