Linking landscape processes and bioeconomies through translation of pollen archives




3 years

Application deadline:

Friday 6 March 2020

About this project

The THYME project brings together the bioeconomy expertise of the Universities of Teesside, Hull and York, to find research solutions to decrease our reliance on non-renewable energy resources and drive innovation in the way we manage land assets. Our region has the potential to become world leading in securing food, water and energy whilst adapting to the challenges of climate change.

The Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull is offering funded PhD scholarships as part of the THYME project to work with academic research leaders across the University to focus on the following priority areas within the bioeconomy.

Linking landscape processes and bioeconomies through translation of pollen archives

Our ability to work with the landscape and maximise the benefits derived from natural processes depends on being able to predict the behaviour of complex systems over long time periods using computer models.  The reliability of these models as predictors of the future comes largely from testing and calibrating them against good data for past situations, but historical data (e.g. old maps) is often incomplete or lacking detail.  Long-term records of past environments are preserved in pollen records in sedimentary archives, but these need to be translated into maps or other data formats which are appropriate for use as model inputs, as well as for direct use e.g. defining reasonable baselines for system functioning, better appreciation of system vulnerability and thresholds, and to interrogate both models of the future and social constructions of the past in ways which enhance landscape management and the bioeconomy.  Land cover is critical for many other landscape processes such as carbon fluxes, albedo, and flood storage capacity. 

This project will firstly develop a new generation of software designed to reconstruct past land cover from pollen records using the Multiple Scenario Approach, developed in Hull. Secondly, the project will focus on applying the software to reconstruct the historical development of the regional landscape using mostly existing data to investigate questions relating to how the region might wish to develop landscape to enhance flood resilience, food & energy security or carbon capture for example, to support regional adaption and resilience to climate change. 

Please contact Dr Jane Bunting if you have any questions.

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

Find out more

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help. 

Find out more

The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential. 

Find out more

Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain the slavery.

Find out more


This is a funded scholarship over a three year period. The funding you receive will cover the fees for your PhD programme and also an annual maintenance grant at the level of UKRI (£15,009 in 2019), depending on satisfactory progress.

There is an optional writing up period if you need to complete your thesis after the three year period of your research degree, for which there is a small charge. Your maintenance grant will not cover you during this optional writing up period.

Entry requirements

We are looking to appoint an applicant with demonstrable computational skills and should have a first class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in relevant subjects such as geography, geology or computer science, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered if combined with relevant experience.