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Research Opportunities

The South Downs National Park Authority aims to facilitate innovative research to underpin evidence based policy and techniques for the conservation and enhancement of the special qualities of the South Downs National Park and beyond.

We are keen to collaborate with a wide range of students, universities, organisations and individual sector specialists both in the UK and overseas.

Some ideas for collaboration include:

  • Partnering on research bids
  • Setting up or participating in foundation/undergraduate/Masters and PhD student work placements with the SDNPA
  • Sharing existing research findings
  • Undertaking research projects.

Our priorities for research for this academic year are set out on this page. If you wish to undertake a research project with the South Downs National Park please complete the Research project application form and return to We are also happy to discuss potential placement opportunities with you so again, please email and we will endeavour to respond to you within five working days.

Note for work experience opportunities for school and college–aged young people, please visit the Learning Zone.

South Downs Research Priorities

This document will be continually updated with new topic ideas throughout the year.

SDNPA Research Priorities 2017-18

Brighton ChaMP

Brighton ChaMP for Water (ChaMP) is a partnership project designed in response to rising nitrate trends observed at Southern Water abstraction boreholes in the Brighton Chalk Block. The principal aim of the project is to protect and improve the quality of groundwater in the Brighton Chalk, to ensure it remains a sustainable resource for public water supply.

There are several immediate research opportunities for further investigation within this project, view them below:

Brighton ChaMP for Water Research opportunities Sep 2017

UK National Parks’ Research Priorities

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has brought together the broader family of UK National Parks to produce a priority list of research concepts of national importance. Emerging priorities include carbon storage, income generation and the broader impacts of recreation. Acting as a united group and undertaking joint research provides a much stronger platform for influencing national policy with robust, well founded evidence. A number of these projects are also of interest to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

UKNPAs joint research concepts

Research Strategy

The South Downs National Park Research Strategy sets out our vision for research up to 2019.

SDNPA Research Strategy 2015-2019