PhD supervision is normally available across a broad range of research areas related to food security, farming and rural development such as crop production systems, animal production systems, food quality and safety, the rural environment, rural society, agricultural economics and agri-business.
Fundamental research for the identification of genes and physiological traits (eg resistance to crop pests and diseases, nutrient use efficiency) and molecular-assisted selection and breeding methods that are required in low-input food production systems; functional biodiversity for control of pest, disease and weed pressure in low-input food production systems.
Food and human nutrition
Research on food quality in its broadest sense including sensory evaluation, effects of agronomic and production environment on nutrient and phytochemical composition, consumer acceptability and physiological responses to diet.
Integrated animal science
Applied research primarily involving farm livestock but also other domesticated animals and wildlife; development and evaluation of integrated livestock systems based on high-quality animal science and its interface with socio-economics, environmental impact, food quality and safety; animal behaviour, health and welfare; identification of desirable traits for survival, health and efficiency of nutrient utilisation.
Soils, plants and environment
Soil ecology and the contribution of soil biodiversity to soil quality; interpretation of soil and landscape processes to improve understanding of recent and historical environmental change; land degradation processes and their control; water management in irrigated and dryland farming systems; plant environment interactions and their relationships to stress biology and the physiological basis of crop yield and quality.
Rural development in advanced economies
Impact and implications of local-global processes and relationships for rural areas; characteristics and performance of rural businesses and households; rural governance; demographic ageing and social change; living with environmental change.
Food systems, consumption and marketing
Consumer studies in food, risk and health; food supply chains and territorial development; the international political economy of food and agriculture.
Science and technology studies in food and environment
Understanding knowledge controversies in food and environment; collaborative knowledge production and exchange: the politics of biosecurity.
This list is indicative and prospective applicants are invited to make an informal enquiry to the most appropriate prospective supervisor prior to application to discuss any potential research topics in the broad area of rural development. For more information about staff specialisms please visit the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development offers a number of different routes to a research degree qualification, including full-time and part-time supervised research projects. We attract postgraduates via non-traditional routes, including mature students and part-time postgraduates undertaking study as part of their continuing professional development. Off-campus (split) research is also offered, which enables you to conduct trials in conditions appropriate to your research programme.
Our Science, Agriculture and Engineering Graduate School also provides training in professional/key skills and research techniques, supports personal development, hosts postgraduate events and has links with several specialist graduate training networks.
The training covers: quantitative and qualitative research methods; the organisation of PhD research; library, information and writing skills; fieldwork; scientific research and writing; and research methods and data analysis. The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development also runs regular postgraduate seminars and an annual postgraduate conference, which you are encouraged to attend.
A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in an appropriate discipline. Further research experience and/or a further qualification such as an MRes or MSc is normally expected for PhD. Please contact us with details of your proposed subject of research if you are in any doubt.
Applicants whose first language is not English require IELTS 6.5, Pearson's PTE Academic Test 62 or equivalent.