Ph.D. Programme

At the Nature Conservation Foundation, we have been attempting to bridge the gap between scientific research and on-ground conservation over the last two decades. An institution set up and run by wildlife biologists and conservation scientists, NCF’s programmes involve rigorous interdisciplinary research on wildlife ecology and conservation biology, followed by setting up of hands-on conservation and monitoring programmes.

To expand the reach and effect of this approach, NCF initiated its doctoral programme in 2006; its goal is to foster the highest standards of interdisciplinary scientific research and use this as a basis for effective conservation. NCF is formally affiliated with the Manipal University, Manipal, for this programme.

The doctoral programme is designed to provide a strong and interdisciplinary academic focus for each project. It will equally encourage basic and applied research, although we anticipate that many projects will culminate in actual, on-ground conservation programmes. Selection of candidates will be based on a passion for wildlife and academic merit, as applicable, and will be in line with NCF’s staff policy including gender and ethnic issues. To the extent possible, we will encourage competent local candidates drawn from communities living in the biologically important regions where the research projects are to be conducted.

Using a combination of innovative coursework, personal mentorship, and field research, we expect our students to develop a high level of independence in designing and implementing research projects, that may or may not have tangible conservation outputs. Studies that address priority issues in conservation will be encouraged, along with those that objectively measure the success or failure of on-going conservation programmes, besides providing ample space for research into fundamental and basic questions in biology, including wildlife biology, and cutting-edge research areas.

Selection process

Doctoral positions will be announced in appropriate national print media (eg. Current Science) and our website as and when funding and/or projects become available. Candidates will be first invited for an interview based on their CV, a statement of purpose, prior experience and compatibility of research interests between the relevant project personnel and the applicant.

Following the interviews, candidates who are recommended for the doctoral programme by the interview panel will have to meet NCF’s doctoral registration requirements before they can register for the doctoral degree at Manipal University.

Research Scholars


Dugong 201 20neil 20island photo vardhan 20patankar

Conserving an extinct species

Tracking changes in dugong populations in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago

1. assamese macaque 4

Genes in space and time

Genetic study of the Arunachal and bonnet macaques

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Primates in fragments

Behavioural ecology of primates in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley of Assam

Walking 20snow 20leopard 20sign 20transect 20above 205 000m

Snow leopard and prey distribution

Factors affecting snow leopard & wild-prey at multiple scales 


Wild carnivores and people

Understanding human response towards snow leopards and wolves

Completed projects



Chickenfeed (Completed)

The economics of trawl fishing along the Coromandel coast

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Forests, weeds and farms

Understanding a shifting cultivation system in the Eastern Himalaya



Kitchen Stories

Understanding how Nicobar communities share resources in the wake of the tsunami

Irrawaddy 20breaching


Net Gains

Understanding coexistence between Irrawaddy dolphins and fishers in Chilika

Traditional 20management 20project 20


Traditional management and change

Marine resource management in the Nicobar archipelago

Schraubenziege   markhor


War and wild goats

Conservation of the Pir Panjal markhor in Kashmir

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