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Conservation Research Institute


Project 5: Assessing the views of the oil palm industry on sustainability practices, and their needs for evidence and guidance 
Supervisors: Dr Edgar Turner, Dr Sarah Luke, and Michael Pashkevich

The project will offer the intern support and training in survey-based data collection, data analysis, and scientific writing, along with the opportunity to increase their understanding of agricultural sustainability, oil palm agriculture, and evidence-based conservation ideas. The intern will also be introduced to a very broad international network of scientists and industry stakeholders. They will be a co-/lead-author on a resulting journal publication and report. 

The intern’s role will be to deliver the survey for oil palm growers, process the findings, and to take an active role in writing the resulting publications. This will include the following tasks:  

  • Constructing an online survey using Qualtrics software  
  • Promoting the survey via email, social media, blogs etc.  
  • Gathering results from the survey and considering their key themes 
  • Helping to develop and write a scientific paper and report outputs as lead or co-author 

Student Profile

We are looking for a student who is interested in tropical agriculture and sustainability issues, and has an awareness and appreciation of ideas relating to the oil palm industry, certification criteria, and environmentally-friendly farming practices. Experience of conducting fieldwork or visits to agricultural sites (particularly within the tropics) would be an advantage, as this would give context for the work, but is not essential. Experience of conducting surveys, analysing results, and writing in the style of a scientific paper would also be an advantage, but is not essential. We will provide all training and support needed to conduct the role.  

The student will be supervised by Dr Edgar Turner, Dr Sarah Luke, and Michael Pashkevich (Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge), with support from researchers at SMARTRI. In advance of the internship starting, the supervisory team will design the survey and will apply for ethical approval for the work through the University of Cambridge Department of Psychology Ethics Committee.