Influence of urban natural capital on public attitudes and behaviour towards climate change action

Evaluate the best ways to encourage biodiversity in urban environments and identify effective pathways for these to be implemented.

Start date
30 September 2019
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
Wates Group
Funding information

Generous stipend of £18,000 per annum and an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc.   

In addition to this, full-time tuition fees (£4,327) will be covered by the programme at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme.


Wates is one of the largest privately-owned construction, development and property services companies in the UK.  They are committed to the long-term future of the built environment and their award-winning corporate social responsibility and sustainability programmes underpin their vision to become the most trusted partner in the built environment.

This PhD project will be supported and guided jointly by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey and Wates. The academic and applied research focuses on the analysis of new opportunities to enhance urban biodiversity through horticulture and garden and green space management, and how this can impact on public attitudes and behaviour towards climate change and natural capital values. The research aims to evaluate the best ways to encourage biodiversity in urban environments and to identify the most effective pathways for these to be implemented in practice.

The anticipated outcomes of the research are expected to be relevant to: Social cohesion, societal benefit, mental health and well-being, economic benefit (employment, skills, growth), sustainable development policy.

The primary academic supervisor will be Professor Richard Murphy - Professor of Life Cycle Assessment and Director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability.

Related links
Centre for Environment and Sustainability Wates

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK and EU students only.

Person specification

  • Proficiency in spoken and written English - IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual component
  • First or 2:1 degree in biological sciences (ecology, plant sciences, horticulture, conservation biology), geography, urban planning and design or similar disciplines (incl. sociology, environmental psychology) or a lower second plus a good master's degree (distinction normally required).
  • Keen interest in applying knowledge to research on biodiversity enhancement and climate change
  • Excellent analytical, data management and communication (written and verbal) skills
  • Ability to work effectively in teams and independently
  • Ability to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience in conducting research within an applied context and/or working with industry will be an advantage.

How to apply

1) To apply for this project, please contact Mrs Deidre Richardson  for an information pack that will include:

  • A project brief
  • Information about the Centre for Environment and Sustainability
  • Details of the Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme.

2) Complete the online application form

Degree certificates and transcripts required; up to date cv; two reference contact details (two academic references or one academic and one industry reference are required); cover letter including why this project is of interest and how your experience and interests make you a suitable candidate based on the specification provided (essential).

Deadline for application: Sunday 25 August.

Shortlisting to commence and invitation to interview to be sent out Wednesday 28 August.

Interviews to take place Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 September 2019.

Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability PhD/EngD

Application deadline

Contact details

Application enquiries to Catherine Stuart:


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