Peatland Conservation and Restoration Research Project

in collaboration with CARE-PEAT (Funded by INTERREG NWE)



A Doctoral (PhD) Scholarship is available for three years (with the possibility of extension) to further best practice conservation strategies for peatland restoration within the discipline of Geography at NUI Galway and a one-year stay at University College Dublin.


The majority of Irish peatlands exist in a degraded state with only 10% considered of conservation value. This results in large net carbon emissions from a landscape that should be a natural carbon sink and increases the difficulty of meeting national and international emissions agreements. Further, differences in land ownership limit effective peatland management and leads to ineffective methods and policies to combat degradation and promote recovery.

The Research Project

This PhD research will be in cooperation with an INTERREG NWE funded project, Care-Peat that will demonstrate innovative technologies that achieve net emissions savings from novel restoration and carbon-accounting techniques and at developing new policies and methods for managing and monitoring carbon reduction from peatlands. It involves collaborators from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and the successful candidate will be able to develop professional networks with leading academic and professional organisations. Specifically, the project will monitor and follow peatland restoration activities in the Irish midland regions. The candidate will be required to measure greenhouse gas emissions from intact and degraded areas, link these emissions to aerial imagery, help coordinate volunteer citizen groups to assist in restoration efforts, and assist with new trials demonstrating rewetting techniques in degraded bogs. The ability to identify and map peatland flora/biotopes is requires highly desired.

The successful candidate will be based at NUI Galway for the full duration of the scholarship, within the discipline of Geography.  During Year 1 of the scholarship, the candidate will be required to attend specific training at University College Dublin under the supervision of Dr. Florence Renou-Wilson to study state of the art peatland greenhouse gas monitoring techniques. The reminder of the scholarship time will be spent based at NUI Galway with travel to local and interregional field sites. The project ends 10-June 2022, with possibilities of further funding. The successful candidate will be expected to apply for additional external funding opportunities.

As part of the research project the successful candidate will be tasked with:

  1. Monitoring environmental changes, including greenhouse gas exchanges, of peatlands along various degradation states and restoration trajectories.
  2. Assisting with onsite peatland restoration activities and demonstrate the applicability of alternative restoration techniques for Irish peatlands.
  3. Assisting in the development of landscape conservation strategies that focus on carbon sequestration potential including use of satellite or UAV data.
  4. Assisting other project partners in local and regional outreach and education to develop socio-economic incentives related to peatland use.

Essential Selection Criteria

  • A Masters degree (with a first-class or 2:1 grade) in a relevant discipline (e.g., environmental science, conservation, botany, earth or physical sciences, or similar degree).
  • Demonstrated GIS experience and data management skills with the ability to perform spatial analysis.
  • Ability and experience identifying and mapping peatland (or similar) habitats and experience with field monitoring and data collection.
  • Full-Irish or EU driver’s license.

Desirable Selection Criteria

  • Experience with greenhouse gas sampling and analysis.
  • Computer literacy in data management, data manipulation, and statistical analysis (knowledge of the R programming language preferred).
  • Understanding of EU directives and policies and national legislation regarding natural areas.

Closing date for applications: 
 Wednesday, 2 October 2019 @ 5pm

Queries in relation to the scholarship may be sent to Dr. Terry Morley

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