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Crisis, transformation and collaborative practice: agroecology and the co-creation of territorial food systems

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

Welsh agri-food systems centred around small-scale family farming are heading towards crisis. Pressures associated with climate change and uncertainties with post-Brexit devolved governance (such as the Common Agricultural Policy replacement) are forcing Welsh Government (WG) and the agri-food industry to identify strategies for adaptation and transformation.

One such strategy relates to ‘Protected Food Names’ (PFNs). PFNs are collectively owned, producer-led initiatives that safeguard and promote geographical and artisanal qualities of traditional food and drink. WG regard PFNs as an important mechanism to develop small-scale farming and endogenous territorial food systems. Indeed, Wales now has 16 registered PFNs (compared to 4 in 2015). They include products of economic significance to Wales such as Welsh beef and lamb.

Initial research (undertaken by the supervisory team) suggests, however, that there is a need to further align PFN production systems with sustainability and environmental principles. This project addresses this challenge by exploring the possibilities for integrating principles and practices of agroecology into PFN systems.

The study will deepen understanding about the multi-scalar interconnections between territorial food systems, rural development, agroecology and PFNs in Wales through collaborative research (with businesses, PFN associations etc) to safeguard the future of small-scale agri-food systems.

Funding details

Full studentship which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years.

Stipend rates set by UKRI with an annual projected average increase of 1.25% per year.


Training and Development
The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.
All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

Entry criteria for applicants to PHD
• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

• a degree in human geography, sociology, politics, planning, or related social science discipline
• knowledge and/or experience of agroecological theory and/or practice
• knowledge and experience of qualitative research methods and data analysis techniques
• knowledge of the UK and/or Wales agri-food policy context

• Understanding of EU Protected Food Name Schemes (e.g. PDO, PGI, TSG)
• a valid UK driving licence

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr. Luke Owen (Email: )

To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

This supporting statement should also include a brief overview about how the applicant plans to take the project forward (for example, indicative research questions, methods and expected outcomes).

Note: Applicants may ‘refer to the supporting statement’ in those parts of the University's application form (on PGR+) that requests similar information (e.g. aims and objectives, research proposal, etc.).

For an informal discussion about this project, please contact Dr. Luke Owen (Email: ) Tel: +44 (0) 2477 651616.

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