Funding

Self-funded PhD students only

Project code

CCTS4521021

Department 

School of Creative Technologies

Start dates

October and February

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Creative Technologies and will be supervised by Dr Claire Bailey-Ross, Professor Hui Yu and Dr Brett Stevens.

The work on this project will:

  • Explore new digital methods and workflows to rapidly and efficiently create an open and accessible Guermonprez herbarium.
  • Assess the reliability of using crowdsourced nonexpert workers against Machine Learning.
  • Gain a better understanding of the social, cultural, and scientific significance of the Guermonprez herbarium.
  • Contribute to the documentation of the herbarium that can be electronically shared with local, national and international botanists and make the collection available for researchers
 

Herbarium collections are a huge resource for studying plant diversity which can be used to answer important questions for science and society. Herbaria provide long‐term environmental data crucial for tracking ecological and evolutionary changes over the current period of rapid global climate warming.  A series of worldwide initiatives have started ambitious preservation plans to digitize this information and make it available to botanists and the general public through online projects. The majority of herbarium records remain inaccessible to the larger scientific community. Accessing these data represents a grand challenge faced by environmental scientists in the era of Big Data.  Detailed cataloguing of thousands of specimens takes an unrealistic amount of work for botanists to carry out in a reasonable time. Computer vision and machine learning approaches applied to herbarium records are promising but are still not well studied compared to crowdsourcing transcription, cataloguing and species identification. This project will assess the reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of using crowdsourcing techniques against machine learning processes to rapidly and efficiently create an open and accessible herbarium. 

The Guermonprez Herbarium contains c9,000 record ‘sheets’ (13,993 plant specimens) collected and amassed by Henry Leopold Foster Guermonprez (1858-1924). In addition to the specimens is correspondence that links to the collection that has not been catalogued. This digital humanities doctoral project aims to gain a better understanding of the social, cultural, and scientific significance of the herbarium. The student will contribute to the documentation of the herbarium that can be electronically shared with local, national and international botanists and make the collection available for researchers. A particular focus of this research will be the change in focus on the ecological and social impacts of climate change. The Guermonprez Herbarium data can help to understand how plants may have adapted to environmental stress. 

This project will explore new digital methods and workflows to rapidly and efficiently create an open and accessible herbarium. Using, deep learning, transcription and crowdsourcing citizen science techniques, the project will explore the social networks created by botanists and the physical networks brought about by travel and develop an understanding of the date range that Guermonprez assembled his herbarium. It will discover where the specimens were collected, rarities in the collection, and how humans have transformed local and global ecosystems. Computer vision and machine learning approaches applied to herbarium records are promising but are still not well studied compared to crowdsourcing cataloguing. Results in this work, we propose to study and evaluate the accuracy with which herbarium records can be potentially exploited for species identification, adaptation, ecological change with deep learning technology. This project will bring the collections a step forward towards fulfilling Portsmouth Museums’ aim of achieving Designation Scheme status for the Guermonprez Collection. The Designation Scheme identifies and celebrates outstanding collections, which deepen our understanding of the historic ecological change, botany social networks and how herbaria can be used for global change research. 

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start) 

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,500 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,250 p/a*

International full-time students: £16,300 p/a

International part-time students: £8,150 p/a 

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,407*

Members of staff: £1,720  

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Digital Humanities, Computer Vision or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

 

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Claire Bailey-Ross (claire.bailey-rossl@port.ac.uk) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Digital and Creative Technologies PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

When applying please quote project code: CCTS4521021

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Claire Bailey-Ross (claire.bailey-rossl@port.ac.uk) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Digital and Creative Technologies PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

When applying please quote project code: CCTS4521021

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