PhD Studentship in Environmental Science (closing date 31 Jul 2024)

PhD Studentship in Environmental Science (closing date 31 Jul 2024)

PhD Studentship in Environmental Science

Project title:  Interactions between vegetation and wildfires

Department/School: Geography & Environmental Science/ School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science, Reading

Supervisors: Professor Sandy P. Harrison, Dr. Olivia Haas

Funding for: UK students, EU Students, International Students

Funding Amount: Tuition fees plus stipend (£19,237 for the 2024/25 academic year) for 3.5 years

Hours: Full Time

Placed on: 22nd May 2024

Closes: 31st July 2024

Reference: DRC24-070

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Project Overview: 

Vegetation provides the fuel for wildfires, and both the amount and type of vegetation exert a strong control on wildfire occurrence and intensity. However, wildfires are the most common cause of vegetation disturbance and destruction. Many ecosystems are adapted to frequent fires and indeed require frequent fires for their maintenance; others are intolerant of fire. Wildfires are predicted to increase in response to future climate changes; how these changes will influence the two-way interactions between wildfire and vegetation is still largely unknown. The major goal of this project is to investigate how specific vegetation traits influence wildfire regimes at a global scale and how in turn wildfires influence the expression of these traits. The project will draw on the increasing wealth of data available from field studies, experiments, and remote-sensing to examine which vegetation properties are most influential in determining the nature of wildfires in order to develop a predictive global model of vegetation-wildfire interactions.

The ideal candidate for this project would have a Masters in an appropriate science, good programming and numerical skills, and an interest in understanding the two-way interactions between wildfires and vegetation. Good team and communication skills are essential. The project is designed as a thesis-by-papers.

Specific training opportunities

  • training in fundamentals of fire science and fire ecology.
  • training in global data sources and database software
  • statistical, analytical, programming, and modelling skills
  • Science communication skills including communication across disciplines and to policy-oriented stakeholders.


  • Applicants should hold a 1st or upper 2nd class degree (or equivalent) in environmental science or a related subject.
  • Good quantitative & analytical skills are required.
  • Experience in programming (e.g. R, Python) highly recommended.
  • Available to students worldwide

Funding Details:

  • Tuition fees plus stipend (£19,237 for the 2024/25 academic year) for 3.5 years.
  • Starts no later than October 2024.

How to apply:   

Please submit an application for a PhD in Environmental Science at quoting the reference ‘DRC24-070 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding section.

Application Deadline:  31st July 2024.

Further Enquiries:  Email:

NB: Where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter which is provided separately from any Offer of Admission, and which is subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria.