Epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in badgers, Biosciences, Statistics – MPhil/PhD (NERC iCASE Funded) Ref: 3179

About the award


Professor Dave Hodgson, University of Exeter
Dr TJ McKinley, University of Exeter
Professor Dez Delahay, Animal and Plant Health Agency

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a NERC iCASE PhD studentship funded by NERC and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, to commence in September 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 at least £14, 777 for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

This project will use a long-term study of badgers and bovine tuberculosis to understand the demography and epidemiology of the badger-bTB interaction using state-of-the-art statistical modelling. This project forms part of a major research programme, delivered by the University of Exeter in collaboration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, to understand the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of wildlife disease, with a focus on bovine tuberculosis. We have developed integrated statistical models of disease progression and transmission (McDonald, J. L., Bailey, T. , Delahay, R. J., McDonald, R. A., Smith, G. C., Hodgson, D. J. (2016), Demographic buffering and compensatory recruitment promotes the persistence of disease in a wildlife population. Ecol Lett, 19: 443-449), and now wish to extend these models to include information on population genetics, social and spatial structure, ageing and inbreeding. The project will yield high impact understanding of this important wildlife disease system, and will yield high quality publications.

The studentship will cover a stipend at the minimum Research Council rate, currently £14,777 per annum, research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by NERC.  Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award but no stipend.  Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are not eligible for funding.  

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First Class UK Honours degree, a Masters-level degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in Biosciences or Statistics. 

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/).

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents:

• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Research proposal
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• 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 midnight on 7th July 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Penryn Campus the week commencing 16th July 2018.
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 722730.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor d.j.hodgson@exeter.ac.uk.


Application deadline:7th July 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:tuition fees and £14,777 stipend
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research Office stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk