Citizen Science PhD secondment opportunity, working with UCL’s Extreme Citizen Science Group and EarthWatch (UK students)

Have you ever wondered how citizen science projects are created? Do you want to learn how to engage the UK public with issues of environmental concern? We’re offering three-month paid secondment opportunities, working with the Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) group at the University College London (UCL) and EarthWatch in Oxford, to learn about citizen science and assist in the development of a new (pilot) project.

The project, “Into the Night”, will highlight the importance of light pollution, a growing environmental stressor to both wildlife and humans, through collaborative and co-designed citizen science research.  It will increase awareness of this issue through two public workshops that will explore the potential of two citizen science focal points – glow-worms and human wellbeing – explicitly linking ecological and human impacts. The project will then culminate with a set of public activities (pilot data collection and educational) coinciding with WWF’s Earth Hour (25.03.2017).

As part of the project, we are offering two secondment opportunities, to learn about, and assist in, the development of a novel citizen science project. Successful applicants will be offered relevant training, and be involved in all aspects of project development.


In addition to exploring the effects of anthropogenic light  on wildlife ecology (linked to CEH and Earthwatch), or human culture/ wellbeing (linked to Natural England and UCL ExCiteS), you will be asked to assist with a number of tasks, ranging from: the building of artificial glow-worms (using Arduino and LEDs), management of social media, development  of guidelines, training materials and/or information sheets, to the running and facilitation of training days, workshops and other associated events. Specifically, with regards the latter, you will assist in the development of a citizen science training day  (to be delivered  at the end of January) and you will be involved in the preparation/organisation  of the aforementioned public workshop, including communication with the different stakeholders involved in the project. You will be responsible for designing and testing the activities that take place during the workshop and will actively participate in its facilitation and reporting. Furthermore you will assist in designing and promoting the activities for Earth Hour. You will also be involved in project monitoring and evaluation processes.

The secondment will be at UCL, with regular team meetings in the ExCiteS offices (Pearson Building, UCL) but also through ongoing communication with Dr Adele Powell (project manager) at EarthWatch. Notably, ExCiteS is one of the world’s leading citizen science research groups, known for its participatory and co-created projects, while EarthWatch is a global conservation organisation that has over 45 years of active public engagement in environmental research.

Studentship arrangement:

Successful applicants will receive 3 months at the equivalent rate of NERC studentship, and extending the period of funding of their studies.


These secondment opportunities are open to NERC-funded PhD students, or students whose PhD’s fall within the remit of NERC research areas (environmental science). Preference will be given to cohort 1 & 2 of the London NERC DTP though other candidate are very welcome to apply.

Give that this will be a fast paced and fast passing project, with delivery from January to 31st March, successful applicants are expected to take a break from their PhD programmes for the entire project period, to fully commit to, and assist with, the project.

 How to apply

To apply, please email a copy of your CV and a personal statement, explaining why you would like the secondment and what skills you would bring (max. 2 pages), to Prof Muki Haklay at ExCiteS (, Dr Adele Powell at EarthWatch ( and Karina Dixon at NERC London DTP (

We also require written consent from your primary supervisor, stating their approval of the secondment, along with a short reference. Please send statements of support to Prof. Muki Haklay at ExCiteS (

 Closing Date: 19th January 2017 (17:00)

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