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BARIToNE Project A - The role of agricultural co-ops in driving change supporting the climate challenge

   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr Morris Altman  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Principal Industrial Supervisor – Jim Booth, SAOS Ltd

Principal Academic Supervisors – Dr. Morris Altman, University of Dundee

This project will be based at the School of Business, University of Dundee, the appointed student will registered at the University of Dundee as the degree awarding institution.

The focus of this project is researching the role agricultural co-ops (member-owned organizations) play in driving change in their networks with a focus on helping their farmer members address the climate challenge. Education and effective knowledge transfer are a key pillar and one of the seven principles of co-operation in co-op enterprises. 

SAOS believe addressing the climate emergency is too large a challenge for any one business to tackle alone, especially SMEs. And that Scotland’s strong agricultural co-ops can be an effective solution to coordinating meaningful change whilst remaining competitive via highly effective co-op farmer member networks.

The co-op model presents a huge opportunity to support farmers address barriers such as limited time and capital, technical change, and information asymmetries. Action to deliver both economic and environmental gains become progressively more difficult as the industry advances through ‘easy wins’ and lower cost solutions. This highlights the value of a more collaborative approach between farmers, to support for example, the adoption and development of new technology or commitment to more capital-intensive investments. Arguably one of the key roles co-ops provide is the leadership to facilitate and actualize change. For example, the investment by Aberdeen Grain in large-scale biomass driers to decarbon the drying of malting barley grain. 

That said, the co-op business model is not well understood in Scotland or the wider UK, despite their long history as a business model, founded in the principles of mutual support, democracy and shared economic benefits. Apart from the commercial returns from being a member, co-ops seek to build social capital and enhance skills that can be vital in building resilience and strengthening rural communities, whilst remaining competitive.  

If you would like to discuss this project in more detail, please contact Jim Booth ([Email Address Removed])for more information.

How to Apply

Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details

Funding Notes

Studentship will cover a full UKRI stipend (currently £15,609/annum) tuition fees, training and travel budget. Part-time study is an option (please indicate on your application) and we offer enhanced support to individuals with primary care responsibilities or disabilities.
Applications are welcome from Home students. To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet UKRI eligibility (found in the Training Grant T&C’s here
Applicants are expected to hold (about to achieve) at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or demonstrable equivalent experience) in a relevant subject (e.g. Biology, Genetics, Plant Sciences, Ecology, Soil Science, Computer Sciences etc.).
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