PGR Student News – Winter 2023-24

Josh Davis is wrapping up work-in-progress surrounding drivers of change for skills acquisition and development in scaling nature recovery. He plans to present early findings at the CCRI Winter School 24, alongside offering a workshop on the utility of internships and placements during a PhD, building upon his experiences from last year. 

Alongside manuscripts in for review, Josh has recently had guest appearances on both the upcoming CCRI podcast and The Nature Recovery Podcast – discussing rewilding as a social enterprise, and the role of people and participation in facilitating environmental and societal co-benefits. In this latter podcast he was joined by former CCRI PhD student Caitlin Hafferty. Stay tuned for more updates!

Pippa Simmonds recently finished a fellowship at the UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, where she produced a briefing on Green Skills in Education and Employment. She has also joined the Early Career Researcher Board of the Agrifood for Net Zero Network+, and is looking forward to working with the rest of the board over the coming year. For now, she is focusing on finalising her PhD thesis ready for submission in the spring.

Kirsten Clarke has been beginning her PhD research looking at how new remote working-related mobilities are impacting community resilience in rural communities. Since starting in October, she has been working on completing the University’s MR401 and MR402 theory and method modules and writing mini literature reviews on relevant themes, such as mobilities, digitalisation, and community resilience. As she prepares to develop the methodological approach her research will take, Kirsten has also recently attended a conference on rural research methods and a training session on statistics using R. She will be presenting the evolving thought around her research at the James Hutton Institute’s annual PhD student conference next month. Kirsten has also written a blog for NICRE about starting her research journey, which you can read here.

Kirsten is based in Edinburgh but visited the team in Cheltenham in December for the Winter away day. She enjoyed meeting everyone and is looking forward to coming down again for the CCRI’s Winter School in a few weeks!

Rob Cole has completed the first stages of his PhD by taking two broad modules on research philosophies and methods. These provided the opportunity to explore the wider schools of thought that are relevant to his developing project, as well as identifying some potential methodological approaches that could be appropriate to addressing his evolving research objectives.

Earlier this year, Rob met with the DEFRA team that he will be undertaking a placement with. Some potential tasks were raised that could allow him to contribute to the team’s work, as well as hopefully his PhD. The placement will begin in the coming weeks.

Alongside this, Rob has begun conducting a literature review to establish the landowner types developed by previous studies that looked at woodland management and creation, as well as identifying the theories that have been employed in this field. At the end of February, he will present the current status of his work at the CCRI’s Winter School and looks forward to the input this may garner from the other attendees.

Finally and most excitingly, Rob has had his first paper accepted by the British Food Journal, titled Agroforestry in the UK: exploring consumer knowledge and interest  which is output from his MSc thesis.