Application Form
PhD in developing a new conceptual framework for novel ecosystem theory using actor network analysis (PhD1)

JobRef: 9374
  • Accepted file types: pdf.
  • Accepted file types: pdf.

PhD in developing a new conceptual framework for novel ecosystem theory using actor network analysis (PhD1)

POSTED:June 25, 2021
LOCATION:Trinity College Dublin
CLOSES:July 9, 2021
Duration:4 Years
Reports to:Prof. Marcus Collier
Salary:Annual stipend €21,000 (non-taxed)
Closing Date:July 9, 2021


NovelEco is five-year research project funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Award to Professor Marcus Collier (School of Natural Sciences) that officially commenced on June 1st, 2021. The aim of NovelEco is explore novel ecosystem theory as a bridging concept and a conduit for rewilding urban society. NovelEco is a citizen science project that will measure for the first time the societal attitudes to urban wild spaces (novel ecosystems) by working with citizens to study them and generate data on urban ecosystems. It will engage citizens in co-creating an online instrument to enable ecological data collection within urban novel ecosystems. During data collection the citizen scientists will also record their attitudes to novel ecosystems and reveal whether engagement with them alters their values and perhaps even their environmental behaviour. Comparing these data with the wider community this project will be the first to quantify the social and ecological values of novel ecosystems. NovelEco will refine and redefine the novel ecosystem concept and create a new awareness of the transformative potential of urban wild spaces. The NovelEco project team will initially consist of the PI, Professor Marcus Collier, three Postdoctoral Researchers, two PhD candidates, and a Research Team Manager with team members expected to grow during the lifetime of the project. This prestigious international project has an exciting opportunity for two PhD candidates commencing in September 2021.

Post Summary

PhD1: Developing a new conceptual framework for novel ecosystem theory using actor network analysis (working title).

Doctoral candidate 1 (PhD1) will carry out independent research into the transformational aspects of novel ecosystems by studying stakeholder governance structures in wild, unmanaged spaces in cities. The candidate will work with a Postdoctoral Researcher who will be using (for example) a Delphi process as well as other social science approaches to map the actors in the novel ecosystem community (professionals, volunteers, policy-makers, etc.), but the candidate will also carry out their own research into peoples’ relationships to unmanaged, anthropogenic (novel) ecosystems in cities. The candidate will also have the opportunity to work within the ADAPT Centre and artificial intelligence-based approached for qualitative data analytics. The candidate will be required to assist in recruiting and liaising with citizen scientists, organising focus group workshops, as well as assisting with public outreach and conferences. This will be ideal for someone with a degree in geography, social science, urban studies, sustainability science.

This position will involve extensive travel for field research in cities in Ireland, the UK, the US and possibly, subject to additional funding, Australia, Malta and Cyprus. PhD candidates are not required to teach or to lead on funding proposals, but these activities will be strongly encouraged in order to build your skills as academics and increase your academic employment options. You will assist your supervisor and the NovelEco research team with core elements of the project (for example: public engagement, additional research tasks; conference organisation; workshop management, data entry, and publications). Candidates will be mentored by the PI in writing their own research proposals and you will have several opportunities to visit established academic groups in other universities.

PhD1 will produce an independent piece of research in the form of a high-quality PhD thesis (by publication) while also fulfilling the research requirements of the NovelEco project. They will also assist their supervisor and the Postdoctoral Research team with key research elements of the project (e.g. field work, literature reviewing, conference organisation, research workshop management, publications, public engagement, and citizen science support). TCD doctoral candidates are registered on the 4 year structured Trinity PhD programme and the PhD will be awarded from the School of Natural Sciences. PhD candidates have access to a variety of taught modules, both discipline specific and research skills, that will enhance and support their independent research. Carefully consider your motivation for embarking on a PhD, the skills/experience that you think make you well suited to a career in research and why you would be a good fit for this project. These points should form the basis of a detailed cover letter (2 pages maximum) expressing your interest in the role. As researchers in the prestigious NovelEco project (under supervision and direction of the supervision team), both PhD candidates will carry out field research using diverse methods such as qualitative and quantitative data gathering, citizen engagement, stakeholder interviewing, and social media analysis (machine learning). You will be required to carry out systematic reviews, applications for ethical approval, conducting interviews and hosting workshops, collaborating with citizen scientists and mapping. You will produce a thesis in academic paper format and will be expected to have at least one peer-reviewed paper approved for publication by their final year. The successful candidate will be core members of the NovelEco team which will include three Postdoctoral Researchers and will be supported by a Research Team Manager, and they will be supervised and mentored by the PI of the project.


You will have a minimum of 2.1 Honours degree (level 8) and/or a postgraduate qualification (level 9) in the areas of natural sciences and/or restoration ecology, human or environmental geography, environmental studies, anthropology, social science, (environmental) psychology, urban studies, or sustainability science.

Person Specifications

Knowledge, Skills & Experience (Essential)

The successful candidate will have:

  • Excellent oral and written academic skills and a commitment to publishing high-quality research,
  • A good grounding in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods,
  • A self-motivated, enthusiastic and dynamic approach to work,
  • Excellent organisation, communication skills and IT skills,
  • Excellent communication skills,
  • High levels of tenacity, commitment and self-motivation,
  • The ability to work both independently and in a team,
  • The ability to think independently and to overcome difficulties in research process,
  • Excellent time management skills,
  • Willingness and ability to travel nationally and internationally as required, and
  • English language certification if English is not their first language, the requirement being: IELTS: 7.0+, TOEFL iBT: 100+, TOEFL pBT: 600+, CEF: C1+, or equivalent

Knowledge, Skills & Experience (Not essential but desirable)

  • Evidence of peer reviewed publications or presentations at international conferences,
  • Experience in report writing and publication preparation,
  • Experience in managing websites and/or social media,
  • Experience in undertaking mixed methods research,
  • Graphic design or artistic skills for scenario representation,
  • Willingness to acquire new skills as required for the implementation of the project, and
  • Mapping and GIS experience.

The ideal candidates should

  • Engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of the NovelEco research group and contribute to its profile by participating in promotional activity,
  • Participate in internal/external networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future research collaboration,
  • Conduct individual and collaborative research to the highest ethical standards,
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research by producing at least three academic papers as lead author,
  • Carry out administrative and management work associated with the research,
  • Interface confidently with others and remain calm under pressure,
  • Have a co-operative and responsive attitude that fosters positive working relationships,
  • Work conscientiously often to tight deadlines,
  • Record, report and present data in a clear and organised manner,
  • Produce well-written, error-free material for inclusion in reports (or sections of reports),
  • Show integrity and professionalism in the course of their work,
  • Operate effectively and supportively as part of a team,
  • Prioritise work to meet

Informal enquiries concerning the post should be addressed to Professor Marcus Collier ( prior to July 2nd, 2021.

Application Procedure

Candidates should submit a cover letter (2 pages maximum) and a full curriculum vitae including the contact details of 2 referees (including email addresses) to: Prof. Marcus Collier by 18.00CEST on July 9th 2021.

Two PhD positions are being advertised simultaneously, so in your cover letter you must identify which of the two PhD positions (PhD1 or PhD2) that you wish to apply for and identify why you feel you have the qualifications and interests that make you suitable candidates.

Apply Now

Other Positions