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Elephant

Connecting people to nature: Are there psychological health and wellbeing benefits to visiting zoos?

  • School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / Fully-funded

Overview

Being close to nature has been shown to have positive effects on human health and wellbeing. Research has also shown that green (e.g. parks and woodlands etc) and blue spaces (e.g. lakes, waterways) follow this trend. With zoos predominately being in or around urban environments but also a place for nature, this PhD will investigate if zoos globally provide more than just an entertaining day out and contribute towards positive psychological human health and wellbeing.

Overarching Aim of the PhD

To investigate if there are psychological health and wellbeing benefits to visiting zoos seen as green/blue spaces and how zoos contribute to nature connectedness.

Objectives of the PhD

  1. Examine the criteria which is filled by zoos and aquariums as a defined green and blue space, and consequently investigate the contribution of zoos to nature connectedness as a green/blue space.
  2. Explore, quantify and delineate the psychological and biological wellbeing of a green/blue space with animals (i.e. zoo/aquarium) compared to green/blue spaces without animals.
  3. Evaluate the contribution of zoos and aquariums in helping achieve wellbeing related global biodiversity targets and sustainable development goals.
  4. To identify the application and impact of the above outcomes on practice to current social prescribing policy.

Supervisory team

Entry requirements

  • 2:1 or above Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences or Psychology or other relevant topic areas
  • Merit or above MSc/MRes in Biological Science or Psychology or other relevant topic areas
  • Interest/experience in multidisciplinary research approaches

How to apply

The application deadline is Tuesday 31 May 2022 at 5 pm (BST). For a step-by-step guide and to make an application, please visit NTU's how to apply page.

Interviews will be held on the week commencing Monday 13 June 2022.

Fees and funding

Funding for this project is provided as part of a match-funded studentship between Chester Zoo and Nottingham Trent University. The studentship supports a full stipend for four years at UKRI rates (2021/22 full time study was £15,609). The studentship also covers UK fees for the four years.

Entry qualifications

  • 2:1 or above Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences or Psychology or other relevant topic areas
  • Merit or above MSc/MRes in Biological Science or Psychology or other relevant topic areas
  • Interest/experience in multidisciplinary research approaches

How to apply

The application deadline is Tuesday 31 May 2022 at 5 pm (BST). Please visit our how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and make an application.

Interviews will be held on the week commencing Monday 13 June 2022.

Fees and funding

Funding for this project is provided as part of a match-funded studentship between Chester Zoo and Nottingham Trent University. The studentship supports a full stipend for four years at UKRI rates (2021/22 full time study was £15,609). The studentship also covers UK fees for the four years.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Dr Samantha Ward