PhD funding available for #envhist

A full-time, fully-funded PhD research studentship is available from September 2019 on the project ‘Mosslands in early modern Lancashire: carbon, community and conservation, 1500-1800’, at the University of Manchester.

I’m really excited to be able to supervise this project. It’s an opportunity to push at the boundaries of early modern environmental history, and contribute to a critical conservation and restoration project.

The project will explain the historical decline of mossland landscapes in the North West and contribute to the restoration and reintroduction work of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Mosslands are wetland peat landscapes that are the second largest carbon stores on Earth, and are home to unique species of flora and fauna. Despite their ecological value, the UK’s mosslands now cover just 3% of their historic maximum. By producing a history of these mosslands before industrialisation, this project will provide vital historical data to underpin ongoing conservation and restoration work, will demonstrate the historical and cultural value of mosslands, and will explain their role in the transition to an industrial fossil-fuel economy.

The project will focus around three core strands:

  • From peat to coal: energy transformations and the industrial revolution
  • Governing the commons: managing peat as a fragile common-pool resource
  • Creating a carbon landscape: the historic characters of a changing mossland environment

The studentship is a collaboration between historians at the University of Manchester and the Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT). The student will be required to work at both the University, and on-site at the LWT office and reserves, including Astley Moss, and Cadishead and Little Woolden Moss. The student will work with the LWT to present their findings to the public. The supervisors at Manchester are Dr John Morgan and Prof. Sasha Handley, and at the LWT Mike Longden (pictured above). A full project brief is attached below.

If you’re interested and would like some more information, drop me an email, or find me on twitter.

The deadline for applications is Monday 25 February at 5pm. Applicants should read the attachment below and submit the following to me at

  • An academic CV (max. 2 pages), including two named referees (one of whom should be your most recent academic tutor/supervisor)
  • A copy of your first degree and Master’s degree transcripts (or anticipated grade if masters is on-going)
  • A letter of application (not exceeding two pages) outlining your suitability for the CASE studentship and how you would anticipate approaching the research.

Find the full studentship advert, application details and project brief here.

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