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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, May 29, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Pressures associated with climate change and uncertainties around trade and policy are forcing the UK agri-food industry to identify strategies for adaptation and transformation.

One such strategy relates to Geographical Indications (GIs). GIs are collectively owned, producer-led initiatives that safeguard and promote geographical and artisanal qualities of traditional food and drink. GIs have been regarded as important rural development mechanisms and as levers to create endogenous territorial food systems throughout the world, particularly across Europe. There are now 88 registered GIs in the UK, and given that the UK will be creating its own GI scheme (in 2021), there is much scope to explore their role in delivering a more sustainable agri-food future.

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

The project will deepen understanding about the multi-scalar interconnections between territorial food systems, rural development, agroecology and GIs in the UK through collaborative research (with businesses, producer associations, governance stakeholders etc) to safeguard the future of small-scale agri-food systems.

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.

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 a 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)

For further details see:

• 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 EU 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 online 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.

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Application deadline: 29th May 2020

Interview dates will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2020

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

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