[SIGCIS-Members] PhD: Statistics, computing and environmental knowledge, University of York (UK)

James Sumner james.sumner at manchester.ac.uk
Thu Oct 15 03:53:43 PDT 2020

Dear SIGCIS list

Here's an upcoming funded PhD studentship at the University of York 
(UK). I'm forwarding on behalf of the supervisors: potential applicants 
should contact Sabine Clarke, sabine.clarke at york.ac.uk, who will be able 
to advise further.

The timetable for recruitment is

  * Application deadline: Monday 11 January 2021
  * Anticipated interview dates: February 2021
  * Start date: October 2021

The funding will cover fees at UK rates for 4 years and a student 
stipend at the UKRI national minimum rate for 3.5 years (£15,560 per 
year for 2021/22). International students are eligible, but if they are 
charged the higher international fee rate, will need to find additional 
funds to cover the difference.


    PhD in Statistics, computing and environmental knowledge in the 20th

A PhD studentship is available to explore the contributions to 
environmental knowledge and innovations in farming made by applied 
scientists based at agricultural research stations in Britain and its 
colonies between 1920 and 1970. Statistics and computing became key 
tools for the study of ecology during the course of the 20th century and 
this project will unpack the motives for developing these tools and the 
assumptions that underpinned their use. You will be based in the 
Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) 
<https://www.york.ac.uk/anthropocene-biodiversity/> at the University of 
York, supervised by leading experts in this field, Sabine Clarke 
<https://www.york.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/clarke/> and Calvin 

Key research questions include:

  * What is the relationship between problem-solving in agriculture and
    the development of new quantitative methods of analysis involving
    statistics and computing between 1920 and 1970?
  * What is the relationship between agricultural research and ecology
    in Britain?
  * What was the relationship between environmental knowledge and the
    ambitions of government for increasing productivity in farming in
    Britain and the British empire?

The student will use the archives of agricultural research stations and 
British scientists, and relevant publications to map the contexts and 
networks that were important for the production of new techniques for 
analysing data and their relationship with ecological and agricultural 
knowledge in the mid-twentieth century.

This project would suit a student with an interest in history (of 
statistics, computing, ecology or agricultural research) or 
ecological/environmental science methods and interdisciplinary working. 
It also has potential for thinking about the ways in which ecologists 
communicate their methods (not just their findings) to a wider public 
audience, a key issue in building trust in science amongst society.

LCAB will provide you with a range of opportunities to interact with 
other PhD students and researchers across departments and institutions, 
and will support you with additional training as required.

  * Supervisors: Dr Sabine Clarke <mailto:sabine.clarke at york.ac.uk> and
    Prof Calvin Dytham <mailto:calvin.dytham at york.ac.uk>
  * Home department: History <https://www.york.ac.uk/history/>

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