5 June, 2017

Undergraduate Research Experience Placement in Social Media Analysis of Tree Failure within Lancaster Environment Centre.

A funded opportunity is available for an undergraduate student (subject to eligibility, see below) to undertake a research placement within Lancaster Environment Centre during the summer of 2017. The project involves filtering some 9 million tweets that have been harvested around key words associated with tree failure (e.g. ‘fallen tree’) then analyse the textual and graphical content to develop a database of tree failures in the UK.  This opportunity links to a larger project led by Prof Alan Blackburn and Dr Duncan Whyatt that aims to predict the failure of trees on so called ‘critical infrastructure’ such as power lines, railways lines and major roads.  The resulting database will form an important element of model validation.


The project will run from the last week in July until the end of September (flexible), and will be supported by a student stipend of £200 per week through the NERC Envision doctoral training partnership. The placement will provide experience working with data of varying accuracies (e.g. precise or approximate location of tree, subjective or objective estimate of height), coping with multiple reports of the same event (e.g. reported by different individuals to different levels of accuracy) and triangulating all available information to generate the most robust database entry. The student will also be given the opportunity to use the database to validate the TREEFALL model.


If you want to contribute to this project, develop your CV and earn some money, e-mail Duncan Whyatt ( for more information and to apply for this position. Applications/enquiries will be considered as they come in and the position will close once filled.


Please note the following eligibility criteria. Applicants should:


  • be studying for an undergraduate degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree,
  • be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters),
  • be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree,
  • be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (i.e. UK, EU or right to remain in the UK.