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Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentship - Designing dynamic models to understand and predict the responses of complex ecological networks to environmental perturbations

Value of award

100% tuition fees, a tax-free stipend of (up to) is £14,553 pa (17/18), a desktop computer, and £1,500 travel allowance. 

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2017 for 3 years.

Application closing date

Friday 30 June 2017


Recent advances in next-generation DNA sequencing enable the construction of highly-resolved networks that map the complex interactions between species in an ecosystem. Whilst these techniques produce high-quality ‘Big Data’, there is an urgent need for advanced mathematical and computational approaches to assist in analysing and understanding these ecological networks.

The aim of this project is to develop detailed models of species dynamics on ecological networks, and investigate the questions of ecological stability and ecosystem response to perturbations and disruption.  Such models are critical to the ability to make predictions about the impacts of environmental change (e.g. climate warming, agricultural intensification) on ecosystem resilience and assess restoration strategies.

This is an interdisciplinary project, hosted between the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the School of Biology at Newcastle University, with an emphasis on combining nonlinear dynamics with real-world ecological network data.

The ideal candidate should possess strong mathematical/computational modelling skills.  Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, we welcome applications from candidates with backgrounds in a range of subjects, such as mathematics, physics and biological sciences.  Knowledge of ecological networks, complexity science, or dynamical systems would be an advantage.

Interested applicants are encouraged to email Dr Clive Emary (School of Mathematics and Statistics) or Dr Darren Evans (School of Biology).


Newcastle University through the Research Excellence Academy

Name of supervisor(s)

The project will be co-supervised by Dr Clive Emary of the School of Mathematics and Statistics and Dr Darren Evans of the School of Biology.

Eligibility Criteria

This studentships is available to UK/EU and International candidates, who have/expect at least a 2:1 honours degree in mathematics, physics, statistics, computing science, or another strongly quantitative discipline, or an international equivalent

Applicants whose first language is not English require a minimum of IELTS 6.5. International applicants may require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form.

Please include the following information:


For further information, please contact Dr Clive Emary: or Dr Darren Evans: