Applications Invited for PhD in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies

The ATREE Academy invites applications for a doctoral research fellowship in Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies. The programme is recognised by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and is one of the few programmes in India that provides students interdisciplinary training in the natural sciences and social sciences to conduct research and practice on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The PhD fellowship will specifically investigate the viability of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to address water quality challenges in an urbanising catchment and will be conducted under the supervision of Priyanka Jamwal.

Students with prior training in the civil/biotechnology/environmental/chemical branch of the engineering (preferred) or environmental/chemical/ biochemistry science graduates are eligible to apply. Selected students will undergo coursework for three semesters, after which they will conduct independent research on the topics listed above. The students will receive a monthly fellowship of Rs 31,000 (pre-registration) and Rs.35,000 (post-registration) for a period of three years. Contingency support for research at Rs. 50,000 per year for two years will also be provided. ATREE fosters diversity and gender equity at the workplace; women and persons from underprivileged groups are especially encouraged to apply. The Academy will follow ATREE’s affirmative action policy during the PhD selection process.

Admission and Eligibility

  1. The candidate must have a Master’s degree in any engineering discipline (preferred), natural science or related discipline and have secured a minimum of 70% or equivalent.
  2. Applicants will appear for an entrance exam on December 15, 2021 followed by an interview the next day.
  3. Candidates who have qualified for UGC-CSIR (minimum NET), GATE, ICSSR or equivalent exams, or have an MPhil degree are not required to take the entrance exam and will directly qualify for the interview.

Application Process

Candidates seeking admission for the PhD programme at ATREE should submit the following documents:

  • Updated CV
  • A completed application form
  • A statement of purpose in the applicant’s own words that highlights her/his interest in the proposed research and broader research and career goals (maximum 1000 words).
  • Confidential reference letters from two referees, sent directly by the referees to the address below by email or post.

Applicants should submit completed applications and all supporting documents by email to or post to the address listed below by November 30, 2021. Candidates submitting their applications by email should indicate ‘Application for NbS PhD Fellowship’ in the subject line of the email; those submitting their applications by post should superscribe the envelope. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Shortlisted applicants will have to appear for an interview at ATREE, Bangalore and will have to be at ATREE on January 03, 2022.

Contact information:

Academy for Conservation Science and Sustainability Studies,
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE),
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 064
Email:   Phone: +91-80-23635555 Extn: 121

Addressing water-related risks in rapidly urbanising catchments

PhD Supervisor: Priyanka Jamwal

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are green infrastructures that mimics natural processes to address risks related to climate change, water security, and public health. Several studies and focused research have reported various benefits of NbS across levels: local, national and global. However, despite all benefits, a recent study by IUCN reported that out of the total funds for infrastructure development, less than 1% is spent towards supporting green infrastructure, including NbS. Lack of evidence on the effectiveness of NbS as compared to grey infrastructure, timescales for effective operations, cost-effectiveness at scale, lack of policies for implementation and lack of standards to assess the benefits are some of the main barriers/constraints towards scaling up of NbS.

Bangalore –one of the largest cities in India is facing significant water quantity and quality issues for the last two decades. The lack of wastewater treatment infrastructure allows the discharge of large quantities of wastewater into open stormwater drains and lakes. Studies report that in addition to providing cost-effective treatment NbS also helps in overcoming the ‘yuck’ factor associated with the use of treated effluents for non-potable purposes. Here we propose a holistic solution to promote a circular water economy by deploying NbS to treat greywater from specific sources like food canteens housed in large institutions.

Government-funded and private research institutions contribute significantly to wastewater generation in the city. Besides, large quantities of freshwater are used for landscaping and non-potable purposes. Presently, around 100 government and private institutions within the Bangalore urban area have varying wastewater treatment and disposal practices. The wastewater from these institutions is directly discharged into the sewerage system managed by BWSSB. According to an estimate, the food canteens in these institutions consume 20% of the total water supply. The quality of greywater from such spaces has low contaminant levels that can be managed by deploying simple, low-cost interventions. To design effective NbS interventions, in addition to optimising treatment processes, there is a critical need to understand the drivers and perceptions behind these institution-level wastewater practices.