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Summer Undergraduate Internship


Paid summer internship for a current Cambridge student, to work with Professor Bhaskar Vira (Geography) and Dr Lydia Drumright (Medicine/Public Health) for eight weeks (Stipend: £275 per week), based in UCCRI at the David Attenborough Building.

THE PROJECT: This project will investigate the links between water-related health issues, and conservation of natural ecosystems. Water-related health issues are transmitted through two types of processes - disease vectors such as malaria, filariasis, yellow fever, and river blindness, typically transmitted by parasites; and water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea diseases, Cholera, and other illnesses such as Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, and Dysentery, typically caused by drinking contaminated water. Starting from this link between water and human health, this project will investigate the relationships between the state of the natural ecosystem and its impact on water availability and water quality; and then examine the associated impacts on human health outcomes. An initial approach to investigate these relationships will focus on a review and synthesis of relevant material to investigate the links between (a) natural ecosystems and water, and (b) water and human health. This will be coupled with a review of available secondary data sources, starting with a focus on known incidence of water-related illnesses in specific spatial and temporal contexts. This will be combined with an investigation of data on environmental change in these same locations, over comparable time periods. The compilation of data that might be amenable to some cross-sectional analysis will be of value in itself; time permitting, some preliminary analysis of these data would also be encouraged.

OUTPUTS: The output from this project will be a summary report demonstrating the conceptual links between conservation, water quality and human health, as well as identifying the possibilities of data analysis to further investigate these links. If the student has the requisite skills, quantitative and spatial analysis of these links will also be undertaken, with the possibility of producing a publishable paper from the analysis. The outputs will also contribute towards plans for the supervisors (Drumright and Vira) to develop major funding proposals in the area of environment & human health. STUDENT PROFILE: This project will suit a well trained social or natural scientist with an interest in the relationship between environment and human health. The ability to work independently, with suitable supervisory support will be very important. Strong writing skills are essential and applicants will be required to provide suitable evidence - such as essays or projects/dissertations. An ability to work with data, including spatial data, and some evidence of quantitative skills will be an important asset. Familiarity with programming and with the basis staistical packages (STATA, R or SPSS) will be helpful. Those who are in their first or second years, and are seeking dissertation ideas, might find this work of particular interest.

SUPERVISION: The student will be jointly supervised by Professor Bhaskar Vira (Geography; & Dr Lydia Drumright (Medicine; The candidate will be based in the David Attenborough Building, as part of UCCRI. More details about the Institute can be found at this link:


If you would like to apply for this internship please complete an application form as soon as possible


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About Us

UCCRI is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre, with a network of over 150 researchers from all 6 Schools of the University of Cambridge. The Institute supports multidisciplinary research on biodiversity conservation and the social context within which humans engage with nature. It works from a base in the David Attenborough Building, which is designed to enhance collaboration and the sharing of perspectives across organisational and disciplinary boundaries. Find out more...


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