Closing date: 8 December 2023 (23:59 GMT)

Key Information

Funding provider: Swansea University

Subject areas: Bioscience, conservation, population genetics/genomics, species reintroduction, amphibians 

Project start date:

  • 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


  • Dr Hazel Nichols, Swansea University (Primary supervisor- 
  • Dr Tamsyn Uren Webster, Swansea University (Secondary supervisor) 
  • Dr Jim Foster, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (External supervisor) 
  • Dr Tammy Shadbolt, Institute of Zoology (External supervisor) 

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Biological Sciences

Mode of study: Full-time

Swansea University is pleased to offer fully-funded Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarships (SURES) for full-time doctoral students to its fifth cohort, commencing in October 2024.  

Each SURES scholarship includes tuition fees and a stipend – reviewed annually at the UKRI standard rate – and a £1,000 annual training allowance to support immersive training experiences, conference attendance, engagement with industry and international collaborative opportunities.  

Each scholarship is offered for a maximum period of three years; SURES students are expected to submit their theses within this timescale.  

Applicants should be aware that faculty-based shortlisting panels are expected to sit in January 2024. Please note that shortlisting panels may contact candidates within this period. Interviews are expected to take place in the week commencing 8 January 2024. 

Project description: 

Research at the Faculty of Science and Engineering 

Reintroduction is a vital conservation tool, used to re-establish species following local extinction. However, only around 30% of reintroductions are successful, so a key priority is to understand how to boost success. We will work with project partners the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) Trust and the Institute of Zoology (IOZ) to enhance the reintroduction of the pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae); the UK’s rarest amphibian. This species was reintroduced to the UK in 2005 following extinction in the 1990s, and populations are breeding, although there are issues with small population sizes and breeding pool abandonment. This PhD will take a comprehensive approach to understanding reintroduction success, combining ecological, physiological and behavioural data (collected in the field with ARC) with health, disease and genomic data (collected in conjunction with IOZ). We will (1) investigate whether genomic diversity is stable or reducing in the reintroduced populations (2) investigate links between genomic diversity, reproductive fitness and health (3) explore how pool frogs use different habitats within the reintroduction sites and (4) establish how pool management techniques can boost breeding pool use. The results will directly inform ARC in genomic and habitat management strategies in UK pool frogs and will more broadly shape future reintroduction projects in the UK and globally. 


Candidates must have attained, or must be expected to attain, a first-class honours degree and/or a distinction at master’s level. If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship (i.e. a student who is eligible to pay the UK rate of tuition fees) but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

  • Where applicants have multiple master’s degrees, a distinction must be held in the degree that is most relevant to the intended PhD study. 
  • If you are currently studying for a master’s level qualification with an expected award date that is later than 01/10/2024, you should hold a minimum of an upper-second-class (2:1) honours degree.   
  • You should be able to demonstrate a pass with a minimum grade average of at least 70% for your part-one master’s degree modules (the taught aspect of your master’s course rather than a research-focused dissertation) and submit your dissertation by no later than 30/09/2024.  

Applicants must be able to begin their course of study in October 2024. As a cohort-based programme, deferral to an alternative enrolment window within the academic year or to another academic year is not permissible.

Please note that both the degree and language-proficiency entry requirements for SURES are higher than the baseline standard for entry that is stipulated for most of the PhD programmes at Swansea University. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.  

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £18,622 for 2023/24).

Additional research expenses will also be available.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Biological Sciences / PhD / Full-time / 3 Year / October

    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.

  2. Start year – please select 2024
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS464 - Rarest Amphibian'

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Dr Hazel Nichols (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.