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Exciting collaborative environmental research projects offered by university

Dr Darrell Smith

The University of Cumbria is collaborating with three different organisations concerned with the environmental welfare of Cumbria to offer innovative MSc research programmes.

The university’s Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA) is offering the opportunity of embarking on relevant, real life study by working with the Friends of the Lake District, the South Cumbria Rivers Trust and Portable Ecosystems Ltd.

The three programmes are:

  • Landscape Character Assessment Monitoring Techniques Appraisal and Ground Truthing in the Lake District National Park
  • Preventing the Spread of Invasive Non-Native Species by Identifying the Pathways of Introduction.
  • Model the life-cycle impact of a new product, the portable ecosystem concept.

The invitation comes a year after the University of Cumbria launched the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA), based at the university’s Ambleside campus, the only one based within a national park and UNESCO world heritage site.

The MSc research study will be partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund Eco-Innovation Cumbria project which is led by the University of Cumbria. As well as the chance to join a growing cohort of student researchers working on industry-led projects in Eco Innovation, benefits include a tax free stipend of £4666, fees subsidised by the sponsor to the value of £2,500 and project travel expenses.

“We’re really excited that these collaborations have been achieved and it will be fascinating to see what emerges from the difference projects which are a real opportunity to make an impression in an area of work that’s certainly topical,” Dr Darrell Smith, Programme Leader MSc Ecosystem Services Evaluation, said. “These kinds of projects are exactly what the CNPPA is about; collaborative research making use of the wealth of experience and knowledge that exists here to produce a piece of work that will be useful to the community here and in other areas around the world facing similar challenges.”

“The project initially came about in response to Geovation’s 2017 Challenge around the theme of greener, smarter communities,” Philip Sage of Portable Ecosystems Ltd said. “At the start of 2018 we were invited to prototype our idea during Geovation:CAMP in London and to pitch for funding at the Geovation Conference. Being selected as one of the challenge winners at the Geovation Conference and successfully receiving funding demonstrated that our idea was worth pursuing.”

He added: “Our company believes in working with partners that bring new ideas, fresh perspectives, and new talent to our project. We feel that the University of Cumbria offers an opportunity to build such a partnership and in return students can gain experience working with us on a real world commercial project”

For more information on any of the projects contact Dr Darrell Smith, lecturer in environmental modelling, at UoC [email protected]

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