Project Description: The potential link between climate change and increased conflict, especially in dryland and pastoral regions of Africa, has been a much-discussed topic in research, political and mass media discourses. Mirzabaev et al. (2019, IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land) highlight contradictions between different quantitative studies that attempt to show causal connection, favourably assess studies that focus on non-climate factors such as marginalisation of pastoralists, corruption and rent-seeking, and overall ascribe low confidence to climate change and desertification leading to conflicts, and only “medium evidence and low agreement” for climate change and desertification contributing to existing conflict potential. In the face of these uncertainties, we wish to support a PhD research project that is explicitly qualitative, and which explores in depth a single case-study of a region in Africa currently or recently prone to local-level conflicts, so as to draw out causal relationships. The study will focus on the perceptions and interpretations of pastoralists (and their neighbours) of the multiple potential causal linkages between climate variability, conflict of various levels of intensity, and non-climate factors such as the strength of local institutions, national political trends, and shifts in livestock prices and geographical patterns of livestock trade. One of the objectives of the research will be to explore methodologies for investigating such potential linkages, these may include visualisations such as participatory risk mapping, resource mapping and timelines, as well as collection of individual and collective narratives, which could be collated through qualitative database software or more innovative programs. Methodologically, climate change and conflict would not be privileged in advance, but investigated as features of a broader “threat landscape”
Criteria: E or D Education and Training: • 1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) Honours Degree or a taught Master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project • For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.
Experience & Skills: • Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught masters dissertation) • Understanding and experience of qualitative research methods in the social sciences • Knowledge of development issues in dryland regions of Africa • High level of practical and logistical ability to plan and implement independent research in challenging areas of developing countries • Fluency in the language spoken in the candidate’s chosen case-study area
Personal Attributes: • Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation • Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully • Personal resilience and good cross-cultural communication skills E Other Requirements: •
Midnight UTC on 10th November 2019
Making an application: Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available here . Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.
All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered. • Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section together with your personal statement as to why you are applying • a CV including 2 referees * • 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 must be a PDF format. Before submitting your applica
More details on this opportunity are available here.