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Award details

Assessing and promoting awareness of the connections between climate crisis and genocide prevention, PhD Studentship (Funded by the QUEX Institute) Ref: 4498

About the award


Lead Supervisor:

Professor David Tollerton, Associate Professor in Memory Studies, University of Exeter.


Dr Kirril Shields, Atrocity Prevention Grants Program Manager, University of Queensland.

Join a world-leading, cross-continental research team

The University of Exeter and the University of Queensland are seeking exceptional students to join a world-leading, cross-continental research team tackling major challenges facing the world’s population in global sustainability and wellbeing as part of the QUEX Institute. The joint PhD programme provides a fantastic opportunity for the most talented doctoral students to work closely with world-class research groups and benefit from the combined expertise and facilities offered at the two institutions, with a lead supervisor within each university. This prestigious programme provides full tuition fees, stipend, travel funds and research training support grants to the successful applicants.  The studentship provides funding for up to 42 months (3.5 years).

Eight generous, fully-funded studentships are available for the best applicants, four offered by the University of Exeter and four by the University of Queensland. This select group will spend at least one year at each University and will graduate with a joint degree from the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland.

Find out more about the PhD studentships and

Successful applicants will have a strong academic background and track record to undertake research projects based in one of the three themes of:  Healthy Living, Global Environmental Futures and Digital Worlds and Disruptive Technologies.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Tuesday 30th August 2022 (BST), with interviews taking place week commencing 19th September 2022. The start date is expected to be Monday 9th January 2023.

Please note that of the eight Exeter led projects advertised, we expect that up to four studentships will be awarded to Exeter based students.


Exeter Academic Lead:

Professor David Tollerton, Associate Professor in Memory Studies, University of Exeter.

Queensland Academic Lead:

Dr Kirril Shields, Atrocity Prevention Grants Program Manager, University of Queensland.

Project Summary:

Within academic genocide studies, recent years have witnessed a significant growth in scholarship
addressing environmental issues. The proposed project will move this research forward by being

- future-oriented – concerned with the potential for climate breakdown to increase the
competition for resources, mass-migration, and socio-political stresses that collectively make
instances of mass violence more likely.

- policy-oriented – concerned with forging better connections between climate policy and
genocide prevention in the work of governments and NGOs.

The project will be centred on addressing three key research questions:

1. How are genocide prevention actors currently engaging with climate change issues, and how
might they more effectively target contexts most vulnerable to the effects of climate

2. How can public memorialisation and education related to past genocides more effectively
sensitise participants to the future interconnections between climate breakdown and mass

3. How can public, organisational, and governmental discourses on climate crisis incorporate
an increased awareness of genocide prevention?

For the studentship holder, there will be broadly three steps required of the research:

1. Establishing the state of scholarship on links between climate stress and genocide.

2. Establish the extent to which public bodies involved with genocide prevention and climate action are conscious of such links. It is anticipated that interviews with key actors will form a substantial part of this work.

3. Establish means by which to improve awareness of the connections between threats of
climate breakdown and mass violence.

Alongside the doctoral thesis, the studentship holder will be expected to work with the supervisory
team and selected external organisations to produce and disseminate two public reports: the first
targeted at participants in genocide prevention and remembrance work; the second addressing
climate policy actors in the UK and Australia. The aim of the project is to thus impactfully drive
forward the development of interconnections between climate action and genocide prevention, in
this way contributing toward the resilience of climate vulnerable communities.

The project will utilise networks already embedded into Exeter’s Green Futures research strand and Queensland’s Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

The proposed studentship uses resources and supervisory expertise unique to the Exeter-
Queensland partnership to impactfully develop a currently underdeveloped connection between
climate research and genocide studies.

Entry requirements

Applicants should be highly motivated and have, or expect to obtain, either a first or upper-second class BA or BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, supporting statement, academic transcripts and details of two academic referees. Your supporting statement should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project, with particular reference to the collaborative nature of the partnership with the University of Queensland, and how this will enhance your training and research.

Applicants who are chosen for interview will be notified week commencing 12th September 2022, and must be available for interview week commencing 19th September 2022.

Please quote reference 4498 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.


Application deadline:30th August 2022
Value:Full tuition fees, stipend of £16,062 p.a, travel funds of up to £15,000, and RTSG of £10,715 are available over the 3.5 year studentship
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office