Science for management of the BIOT Marine Reserve: socio-economics of illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries, Biosciences – PhD (Funded) Ref: 2752

About the award

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and with funding from the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science, is inviting applications for a PhD studentship, to commence in January 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of £14,553 for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, with option to spend time at ZSL, London.


Penryn, Cornwall

Academic Supervisors:

Dr Ana Nuno, University of Exeter

Professor Annette Broderick, University of Exeter

Dr Tom Letessier, ZSL

Project Description:

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries have important implications for the global economy as well as jeopardizing marine biodiversity and the livelihoods of those dependent of those resources.

Thus, protecting biodiversity requires understanding how the broader socio-economic context influences resource users' compliance with the rules. This project is set in the context of increased pressures in IUU fishing activity within the BIOT reserve, notably targeting high-value sharks in the Chagos Archipelago to meet the international fin market.

This interdisciplinary project will establish the social, economic and legal factors affecting the scale and range of the IUU fishing effort in the BIOT MPA in the context of the wider Indian Ocean. This research will contribute to the wider consideration of how resource user compliance with conservation regulations can be improved whilst accounting for local livelihoods.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,553 per year tax-free stipend. International students who are ineligible for UK/EU fee levels are welcome to apply, but must have certified and guaranteed means to fund the additional fees required.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3 years of full-time study to commence in January 2018.    

Entry requirements:

Applicants should be highly motivated and have a relevant undergraduate degree at 2:1 level or above, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, and ideally a relevant MSc qualification. Previous experience in social sciences, interdisciplinary projects and conducting fieldwork in developing countries would be beneficial. International travel/fieldwork is required so applicant must be able to spend time overseas. It would also be beneficial if the candidate spoke Sinhalese/Tamil.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

Click here to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”. 

  • CV
  • Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English

The closing date for applications is 23:59 on18th October 2017. Interviews will be held on the 10th November 2017 at the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706. Project-specific queries should be directed to Dr Ana Nuno (


Application deadline:18th October 2017
Number of awards:1
Value:£ 14,553 for 3 years
Duration of award:per year