Please pass on the following advertisement for a PhD studentship to
anyone that might be interested. Apologies for cross-posting.
PhD studentship: Uptake of Land Management Contracts in the Cairngorm
Dr Robin Matthews, Landscape Change Programme, Macaulay Institute
Professor Nigel Gilbert, Department of Sociology (RAE 5*), University
The newly created Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has the
four aims of (a) conserving and enhancing the natural and cultural
heritage of the area, (b) promoting sustainable use of the natural
resources of the area, (c) promoting understanding and enjoyment of the
special qualities of the area by the public, and (d) promoting
sustainable economic and social development of the area's
The CNPA has recommended that the Park be designated a Land Management
Contract (LMC) region to support land managers in their efforts to
contribute to these four aims (Newcombe, 2004). However, it is not yet
clear what level of uptake of such LMCs by land managers will occur,
what the resulting land use might be, and hence whether the aims can be
met. There is a clear need, therefore, to understand the factors
influencing individual decisions to adopt LMCs. A previous EU-funded
project (IMAGES, FAIR3-CT96-2092) investigated the factors involved in
the adoption of agri-environmental schemes, focusing on the basic
utility of the scheme to the farmer and the influence of social
networks. The proposed project would build on this previous work,
initially using a similar agent-based modelling approach to predict the
pattern of uptake of LMCs, then supplementing this with actual data on
decision-influencing factors gathered from land managers in the CNP, and
finally validating the model using data collected on the actual uptake
of LMCs in the area. The work will provide a sound basis for future work
evaluating the likely uptake of LMCs in other regions.
1. Review the published literature on uptake of agri-environment
schemes within Europe, particularly Scotland.
2. Use existing agent-based model approaches from the IMAGES project to
predict likely pattern (temporal, but possibly also spatial) uptake of
LMCs in the CNP area.
3. Using questionnaires and interviews with land managers in the CNP
area, collect data on social networks and other factors likely to affect
LMC uptake. One such factor is likely to be 'cultural capital', i.e.
land managers' perceptions of themselves as 'good farmers' and not
'environmentalists', potentially a source of resistance to LMC
uptake. Other factors may relate to landholding size, and duration of
residence in the area.
4. Incorporate this information into the model and revise predictions
of LMC uptake.
5. Monitor actual uptake of LMCs from implementation of the scheme.
6. Validate model with monitored data.
7. Revise and further develop the model if necessary. [Note: steps 5-7
would be omitted if there are unforeseen delays in approval of CNPA
recommendations on LMCs by the Scottish Executive]
8. Use model to estimate likely change in landscape characteristics
(agriculture, forest, moorland, biodiversity, farm size) as a result of
predicted adoption rate of LMCs.
9. Assess efficacy of LMC adoption in achieving the aims of the CNPA.
10. Assess system resilience to policy change - rate of impact once
LMCs are implemented, and also whether/how fast the system reverts to
its original state if LMCs were to cease. If possible, test for presence
of threshold collisions and multiple basins of attraction.
We are looking for a talented candidate who either has (or expects to
obtain) a first or upper second class science honours degree, or who has
acquired a high level of relevant experience and motivation in this
topic area. Experience in computer programming and/or social systems
modelling would be a distinct advantage. The PhD is fully funded for
three years with a tax-free stipend.
Although the student will be registered at the University of Surrey in
Guildford, the work will be mainly based at the Macaulay Institute in
Aberdeen, where there are scientists with internationally recognised
expertise in land use change, socio-economics, agent-based modelling,
and biosystems modelling, as well as other staff who provide strong
interdisciplinary collaboration potential. More information about the
Macaulay Institute can be found at http://www.macaulay.ac.uk/.
The successful candidate will have access to appropriate computing
equipment, and will be expected to spend some time in the Cairngorms
National Park area collecting field data. The Cairngorms National Park
is about 50 miles westwards of Aberdeen.
Potential applicants who consider themselves appropriate to the task
are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Dr. Robin Matthews (e-mail:
[log in to unmask], Tel: 01224 498261, web page:
Candidates should submit to Personnel, The Macaulay Institute,
Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH, UK. Tel 01224 498200, Fax 01224
324880, E-mail: [log in to unmask] (quoting Ref No of the
studentship), a curriculum vitae, including the names and addresses of
two referees, and a statement as to why you are interested in the
Deadline for applications: 8 April 2005.
Dr Robin Matthews
Programme Leader, Landscape Change Programme
Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 498261
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 311556
Email: [log in to unmask]