Biosciences: Fully Funded MSc by Research at Swansea: River connectivity in Wales

  • Master
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 13 November 2020

Biosciences: Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: More efficient restoration of River connectivity in Wales

Start date: January 2021

Subject area: Ecology, River restoration, GIS, citizen science, River management

What is this project about?
Our rivers have barriers - they are disconnected from the sea. Weirs, small hydropower structures, big dams, culverts and fords provide drinking water, irrigation, energy production, flood protection and help us cross rivers. But these barriers block rivers, fragment waterways, isolate habitats and weaken wildlife populations. Healthy rivers are flowing rivers, the aim of this project is to guide the restoration of river connectivity and help river managers make informed decisions.

What will you be doing?
In this project, you will make use of a recently developed citizen-science smartphone app (the barrier tracker) that allows users to map barriers, not just the large dams, but also the smaller weirs, culverts, ramps and fords that go typically unnoticed. You can download the app here.

You will use geolocated data to develop and test methods for prioritising barrier mitigation in rivers across Wales. You may also be involved in collecting data and doing field work in Welsh rivers and interact with NRW and Rivers Trusts to inform the process.

Which techniques and skills will I use and develop?
You will use statistical and GIS software such as R and QGIS.

You will develop skills in statistical and geospatial programming, problem solving, designing decision support tools and stakeholder engagement.

What is novel about this project?
Wales lacks a national/regional barrier removal strategy. Pre-construction prioritisation assessments and analysis are common for dams and weirs, but a barrier removal strategy is lacking. 

Are there any companies and other institutions involved in this project?
Yes, this KESS2 Scholarships is a collaborative award with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. This specific project is a collaboration between the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR with Natural Resources Wales, The Coal Authority, Andrew Scott Ltd, and the Afan Valley Angling Club.

Where will I be based?
The work will be based at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University (Wales) and you will join the FISHBEE group:
You will be supervised by Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Professor Sonia Consuegra and Dr Josh Jones. Some of the data have already been collected and you will be able to work remotely. We will encourage you to do field work and interact with other colleagues when possible.

How long does this scholarship last?
The scholarship provides 1-year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 40-credit award.
Swansea University
This is a scholarship by

Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

All Scholarships from Swansea University


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree in Bioscience or related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees.

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University‚Äôs English Language entry requirements, please visit ‚Äst


Do you wish to become an international student next year?
Demonstrate your English skills with IELTS.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and £1,000 bench fee, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,819 p.a. dependent upon the applicant's financial circumstances.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.

Please note that students receiving KESS II support are not eligible for Postgraduate Master's Degree loan.


Please visit our website for more information.

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