Reimagining the urban soundscape

The synergy between noise pollution, biodiversity, and human health.


An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Health, Science and Society.

Ref: 2324-OCT-HSS05

The expected start date of these studentships is 1 October 2023.

The closing date for applications is 21 May 2023.

Studentship details

Since the industrial revolution, many landscapes can be increasingly characterised by their anthropogenic soundscapes which have profoundly impacted both human health and wellbeing, and ecological communities. Over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas; a landscape dominated by noise from human activities. In this project we’ll investigate the physiological and psychological effects of anthropogenic noise on humans and seek to develop strategies to lessen the impact.

Anthropogenic noise also negatively impacts wildlife which has led to declines in animal species richness, abundance and diversity within urban environments. Noisy environments also elicit behavioural changes in wildlife including adaptations in vocalisations, a reduction in hunting success, and alterations in breeding behaviour. In this project we’ll assess experimentally how road noise impacts a range of taxa including bats, birds, and terrestrial mammals.

Future adaptations to the urban soundscape may have considerable socio-ecological benefits in mitigating the impact of noise pollution. Reduced speed limits can decrease traffic collisions, promote physical activity, and improve air quality, however the impact on the well-being of residents and biodiversity have not been routinely researched. Similarly, over the next decade, there will be a swift transition to electric vehicles (EVs), which sound different and are quieter than conventional vehicles. In this project we will therefore assess the potential of reduced speed limits and EVs to make urban landscapes a healthier and more hospitable place for people and wildlife.

This project will involve data collection in the field and data analysis using statistical methods. Most of the fieldwork will occur in Greece in collaboration with Bear Bones Science and will involve a minimum of two field seasons (summer 2024 and 2025) living in Greece. The PhD will be supervised by Dr Paul Lintott, Dr Issy Bray and Dr Angeliki Savvantoglou.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Paul Lintott at


The studentship is available from 1 October 2023 for a period of three and half years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £17,668 per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years.


Candidates with either a background in conservation and ecology, public health or psychology are strongly encouraged to apply.

Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the PhD, we are looking for a candidate with experience in either i) fieldwork (including camera trapping and acoustic monitoring), or ii) assessing human physiological and psychological responses to stress.

A full driving licence would also be beneficial.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2324-OCT-HSS05.

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 21 May 2023.

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on weeks commencing 12 June 2023. If you have not heard from us by July, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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