Opportunity: Interdisciplinary PhD opening with Dalhousie’s Marine Affairs Program

The Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University is seeking a candidate for an interdisciplinary PhD. Successful candidates will apply for admissions through the Interdisciplinary PhD Program at Dalhousie University.

PhD: Socioeconomics of prioritizing network connectivity for MPAs

Supervisors: Dr. Megan Bailey and Dr. Lucia Fanning
Funding: Three years of NSERC stipend
Start date: January 2017

Description: The conceptualization, categorization, and defining of sociological/economic benefits of MPAs are dated. Yet understanding under what circumstances ecosystems and societies benefit from MPAs remains important as Canada, in its commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity, moves forward to designate 10% of its oceans as protected. MPA siting characteristics differ, with connectivity being increasingly prioritized. But what are the socio-economic trade-offs associated with prioritizing connectivity? To answer this question, research is needed to develop an updated framework for how we understand MPA benefits (e.g. in light of climate change, equity concerns of future generations, etc.). This PhD research will utilize the Canadian context and literature on global MPAs to attribute existing and modified benefit categories to various siting characteristics and identify theoretical trade-offs. For example, does the inclusion of population connectivity as a criterion enhance benefits to fishers by ensuring successful recruitment? Or does prioritizing connectivity come at a cost to social or economic systems? As a CHONe2 student, the successful candidate will have a multitude of networking opportunities with other graduate students, professors, government and private actors throughout Canada. This PhD project will be closely linked to one PhD project at University of Victoria, and one PhD project in the department of Biology at Dalhousie.


  • A Masters degree in fisheries economics, resource management, environmental science, or a comparable degree.
  • Background in research related to fisheries and/or marine management, spatial planning and ocean policy will be considered favourably.
  • Experience with both quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods are essential.
  • Excellent academic level written and oral skills in English, with a proven capacity to work effectively in a large and interdisciplinary research team.
  • GPA of at least 3.7 (on a 4.3 scale).

To apply:

If you are interested in this research position, please provide via email (megan.bailey @ dal.ca) your CV, contact information for 3 references, unofficial transcripts and cover letter outlining your research experience and interests.