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Fully Funded: PhD Studentship on Valuing Nature

Aberystwyth University


Project Title: 

Valuing and mapping the Diverse Values of Nature for   Urban Green Infrastructure Planning: Operationalizing the IPBES Values Assessment.

Supervisors: Prof Mike Christie

Funder: This fully funded PhD studentship is based at Aberystwyth University’s Business School ( It is funded as part of the €5 million Academy of Finland   ‘Enabling multispecies transitions of cities and regions’ (MUST) project. The studentship will cover tuition fees, the standard UKRI stipend (currently   £18,662 per annum) and research costs.

Application details: deadline (emailed to 5pm, 20th December 2023

Interviews: 22nd  December 2023

Expected start date: Early 2024

How to apply:

Please send the following to Prof Mike Christie ( with ‘Valuing nature PhD studentship’ in the title of your   message:

  • Your Curriculum Vitae.

  • A short (1   page) statement that outlines how you meet the following requirements:

  • You should hold   a degree (grade 2.1 or above) and/or an MSc degree in a relevant subject   (e.g. environmental economics, human geography, participatory mapping).

  • If English is not your first language, an IELTS = 6.5

  • Demonstrate a   knowledge of the subject matter of the proposed PhD research.Demonstrate a   capacity to undertake independent research.

  • Demonstrate a   capacity for scientific writing.

About the project:

Aberystwyth University invites applicants for a   fully funded PhD studentship to investigate the diverse values of nature in   the context of urban green infrastructure planning in Wales.

The IPBES (2022) ‘Values Assessment’ (1, 2) (which was chaired   by Prof Mike Christie - who will be the lead supervisor of this PhD) was a   landmark report that extended understanding of the diverse values of nature   and provided a roadmap for incorporating these values into policy to drive   transformative change towards a more sustainable future. This PhD programme builds on the insights from the Values   Assessment to develop innovative approaches to identifying, valuing, and   mapping the diverse values of nature that contribute to human and other   species' well-being in the context of urban greenspace planning in Wales.

Wales has committed to safeguarding its natural   environment for current and future generations through various acts,   including the Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015), Environment   (Wales) Act (2016), and Planning (Wales) Act (2015). These Acts mandate   proactive, sustainable, and integrated management of natural resources in   alignment with the delivery of Wales's seven well-being goals.

Urban greenspaces play   a pivotal role in achieving these aspirations. For instance, trees make cities more attractive   places for people to live in, they remove air   pollutants, mitigate climate change, and contribute to stormwater runoff   reduction. Urban   greenspace is also vital for other species, providing habitats and food to   allow them to thrive.

In response to the Welsh Acts, Cardiff city aims   to increase tree canopy cover from 19% to 25% by 2030, adding 839 hectares of   trees and green space across the city. Research is needed to explore where   these new trees should be planted to maximise the benefit for both humans and   other species, providing an evidence base for urban green infrastructure   planning in the city.

To address these policy questions, the doctoral   researcher will utilize a combination of choice experiments and participatory   mapping tools to assess and map the diverse values people derive from existing   and new greenspace in Cardiff. These value maps will then be integrated with   spatially explicit ecological data to create maps that identify   "hotspot" where greenspace is highly valued by humans and/or other   species. Connectivity analysis will then identify locations where greenspace   expansion would deliver optimal benefits to people and nature. The knowledge   generated from this research will foster a multispecies perspective in   spatial planning, supporting sustainable transitions in cities.

This PhD studentship is part of, and feeds into,   the €5 million Academy of Finland project, "Enabling multispecies   transitions of cities and regions" (MUST: MUST aims to explore innovative ways to represent and   incorporate the interconnected values and needs of humans and other species   into Nature Based Solutions (NBS) planning and decision-making processes.


1:  IPBES (2022). Summary for Policymakers of the Methodological Assessment   Report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature of the Intergovernmental   Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Pascual,   U., Balvanera, P., Christie, M., Baptiste, B., González-Jiménez, D.,   Anderson, C. B., Athayde, S., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Jacobs, S., Kelemen, E.,   Kumar, R., Lazos, E., Martin, A., Mwampamba, T. H., Nakangu, B., O'Farrell,   P., Raymond, C. M., Subramanian, S. M., Termansen, M., Van Noordwijk, M., and   Vatn, A. (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. DOI:

2: Pascual,   U., Balvanera, P., Anderson, C.B. et al. Diverse values of   nature for sustainability. Nature 620, 813–823   (2023).

Other useful information:

For any other enquiries, please feel free to   contact Prof Mike Christie:

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