Biodiverse nature prescriptions and mental health

The aim of this PhD study is to understand the mental health benefits of contact with biodiversity in order to create a ‘biodiverse nature prescription’.

Start date

1 October 2023


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

University of Surrey

Funding information

  • Full tuition fee cover
  • Stipend of c £17,000 p.a.
  • £3,000 Research Training Support Grant


Contact with nature (e.g. parks) improves mental health. But how and why biodiversity within nature (e.g. abundance of birdlife) may be a key factor is under-researched. With many countries investing in nature prescriptions for mental health and well-documented risk of worldwide biodiversity collapse, stronger evidence linking these critical issues could have local and global resonance.

The aim of this study is to understand the mental health benefits of contact with biodiversity in order to create a ‘biodiverse nature prescription’. This project has 3 objectives:

  1. Identify the 'key ingredients’ of effective biodiverse nature prescriptions through a scoping review of previous research studies (study 1)
  2. Test the relative importance of biodiversity in contrast with other green space qualities for supporting mental health (study 2)
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of a nature prescription intervention in a high-biodiverse environment, compared to a nature prescription in a low-biodiverse environment (study 3).

Related links


Additional notes

Please note that this studentship award is part of a wider studentship competition. Those successful in being shortlisted will be put forward to a central panel consisting of University of Surrey and University of Wollongong staff who will then assess the applications and select four of the nominated candidates for funding.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a minimum of an upper second-class honour’s degree (65 per cent or above) in psychology (or a related discipline) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject with a pass of 65 per cent or above.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic minimum of 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Psychology PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for, the name of the relevant supervisor and a personal statement. The statement should explain how your previous experience has prepared you for doctoral research and this project in particular. Explain how this PhD will support your career aspirations (maximum 500 words).

PhD Psychology

Studentship FAQs

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Application deadline

Contact details

Melissa Marselle
36 AC 05
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686913

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