About the Project
Are you an aspiring PhD candidate looking for your next challenge? Are you passionate about delivering innovative research in a field of growing importance to the world? A fully funded three-year PhD scholarship is available to a highly ambitious PhD student interested in building expertise and becoming a leader in conflict, climate, peace and development studies.
Insurgent struggles and environmental hazards are major challenges for sustainable development, impacting social cohesion and livelihood performance, particularly in water-limited environments that are increasingly a global focus of climate security concerns. While the 2030 global agenda identifies peace, justice and poverty reduction as relevant elements of the sustainable development goals, little is known about how these can be achieved in tandem with improvements in environmental stewardship, community reconstruction and livelihood rehabilitation in times of social and environmental disasters. This PhD project will address this knowledge gap by focusing on the Lake Chad basin region where there is a long standing, and recently revived, state of insecurity driven by insurgent conflict, socio-economic stresses and climate change. Violence in this region has created unprecedented challenges for decision makers and development actors who are being asked to make many varied and complex peace-conducive and climate-friendly decisions in quick succession. The range and urgency of evidence they require is continuously growing – and it is not easily accessible. This presents another challenge in developing/implementing needs-based interventions to help vulnerable communities through the severe and widespread impacts of social and environmental disasters.
We are seeking a highly motivated and curious PhD candidate to carry out this project which is linked to a UKRI funded Future Leaders Fellowship awarded to Dr Uche Okpara. The PhD project will be structured around some combination of the following objectives: (i) track and assess the emergence and spread of violent conflict in the Lake Chad basin region (e.g. from 2009 to date) and evaluate its impacts on the environment – land, water and natural vegetation; (ii) document and assess the lived experiences of communities and provide insight into the policy landscape on regional stabilisation; (iii) investigate how countries in the region are helping each other leverage data, statistics or evidence for the SDGs related to prosperity, climate and peace, including assessment of how strong the relations between the different groups working on these issues are; (iv) compile and examine how climate security is perceived locally, including how it is being officially communicated and responded to; (v) identify, assess and promote interventions that support both peace-conducive and climate-compatible development; and (vi) document and provide peace impact stories from the Lake Chad region, and the potential transferability to the Lake Chad context of other countries’ interventions.
We envisage that the successful candidate will advance new ways of data generation, knowledge mobilisation and forward prediction of conflict diffusion and escalation. Data sources can be wide ranging, covering, for example, administrative records, citizen-generated data, mobile phone interviews and satellite imagery, including use of collective intelligence methods. Preference will be given to candidates able to co-manage a new Lake Chad Conflict and Environment Observatory at NRI with a high degree of independence, including willingness to liaise with national and regional policy makers, and ability to communicate in both English and French.
For additional information about the scholarship please go to:
Please read this information before making an application. Applications need to be made online via https://www.gre.ac.uk/research/study/apply/application-process. No other form of application will be considered.
All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.
• In the first part of the application select the following: Development Studies (MPhil/PhD)
• Scholarship Reference Number (Ref: FES-FLF-01-2021) – included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying
• a CV including 2 referees *
• a short proposal on how you would address the research topic
• academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *
*Upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments need to be in PDF format.
Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):
Year 1: £15,605 Year 2: In line with UKRI rate Year 3: In line with UKRI rate
Scholarships are available for three years, full-time study from the date scholars first register as an MPhil/PhD student with the university. Applicants must meet the programme entry requirements. In addition, the successful candidate will receive a waiver for tuition fees for the duration of their three-year scholarship.