Department of Zoology

The Claire Barnes 150th Anniversary Studentship in the
Biology and Ecology of Asia - 2017/18

A Claire Barnes 150th Anniversary Studentship in the Biology and Ecology of Asia, covering the University Composition Fee at the Home/EU rate, a stipend at the RCUK rate for 4 years, and 5k pa towards research costs for 3 years, is offered at the Department of Zoology to start in October 2017. Candidates must carry out research that is relevant to the biology and ecology of Asia.

Please see the below list of available projects. Applicants are also invited to suggest their own projects.

  • The scale and reasons for the emerging, potentially very large yield gap in oil palm plantations, the barriers to it being narrowed, and the potential impacts for both within-plantation biodiversity and for forest conversion if yields do rise dramatically.
    Supervisors: Prof Andrew Balford FRS, Dr Edgar Turner
  • The evolutionary ecology of adaptive radiations in Asian butterflies - The spectacular radiations of Mycalesine butterflies in Asia: Comparative studies of seasonal polyphenism, host plant evolution, and male secondary sexual traits with parallel radiations in Madagascar and Africa.
    Supervisor: Prof Paul Brakefield FRS
  • Host specificity and the role of "wax barriers" in Macaranga-ant mutualisms.
    Supervisor: Dr Walter Federle
  • Biomechanics and ecology of Nepenthes pitcher plants.
    Supervisor: Dr Walter Federle


Applicants to the Department of Zoology graduate programme must have:

  • " at least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (e.g CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject
  • " two excellent academic references
  • " fluency in the English language - recent IELTS test with an overall band score of at least 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

For more details of the University's entrance requirements see the Graduate Admissions website.

Candidates of any nationality/residency may apply, but a successful Overseas applicant would need to secure additional funds from other sources to cover the higher fee level. The most current estimates of costs can be found on the Graduate Admissions fees page.


Claire Barnes (Clare College, 1976) writes:

"I have been fortunate to spend my working life in Asia during an era of rapid economic growth. As a traveller and keen diver, I have visited some of the world's most magical places, and have also witnessed unprecedented ecological change and destruction. Losses of habitat, biodiversity, and traditional local knowledge are all of concern; and regional education systems often equip their graduates with little understanding of the natural world. Meanwhile, the amateur naturalist marvels at the number of species yet to be documented and of topics yet to be studied. I would like to encourage zoological studies in Asia, and to strengthen scholarly and personal ties between the UK and Asia."

Application procedure:

To be considered for these studentships, candidates must have applied to the University of Cambridge (following the normal application process) by 4th January 2017.

Please note that to be considered, you must also have uploaded all of your supporting documentation by this date.

Interviews are likely to be held in February-March 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Zoology - Graduate Administration team (

posted: 18 October 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.