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Food insecurity, risk and resilience in low income households


Project Description

Background:
Food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to sufficient affordable and nutritious food. It affects 41% of families worldwide and leads to negative health and psychosocial outcomes in children and adults. In response to this problem, the UN has set a Sustainable Development target by 2030 to end hunger and ensure all children have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

Food insecurity is much more than just a consequence of poverty. The relationship between food insecurity and the interplay between individual, household, social and community networks is complex. This PhD will assess the role of these interconnected factors and food insecurity via a comparative analysis of Pune, a city based in India, and Birmingham (UK). This PhD will be supported by a newly-established learning partnership between Birmingham and Pune, detailed below. The PhD will combine theories from the literature on communities, social networks, adaptation and resilience enabling the student to develop a framework of both risk and resilience that will underpin an analysis of food insecurity. The analysis will inform policy development intended to reduce the impacts of food insecurity that is relevant to both high-income and lower-middle-income country contexts.

Aim: To develop an integrated comparative approach to understanding food insecurity focusing on individual, family and community adaptation strategies that reduce risk and enhance resilience.

Outline of methods:
Dr Frew (Reader in Health Economics, College of Medical & Dental Sciences) holds a NIHR-fellowship with Birmingham local authority (LA) who has recently formed a learning partnership with a LA in Pune to enable joint learning, experience sharing, and pilot initiatives to establish ‘smart nutrition’. In collaboration with Birmingham and Pune LA and with supervision support from Dr Frew, Dr Moore (Lecturer in Health Economics, College of Medical & Dental Sciences), Professor Bryson (Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography, College of Social Sciences) and Professor Tight (Professor of Transport, Energy & Environment, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences), the student will undertake a multi-disciplinary PhD using mixed methodology comprising detailed econometric analysis alongside ethnographic research. This supervision structure will provide the student with essential multi-disciplinary support spanning three Colleges to enable them to undertake this PhD.

Candidate specification
Essential:
• Undergraduate degree in medical sciences, human geography, economics or relevant social science subject.
• Ability and experience with collaborating in teams.
• Ability and experience in prioritising activities and tasks to accomplish goals within the set deadlines.
• Excellent written, verbal and presentation skills for both specialist and non-specialist audiences
• Excellent interpersonal skills including clear and concise verbal communication.
• Eligibility to work in the UK
Desirable:
• MSc/MRes (at Merit or Distinction level) in economics, medical sciences, human geography or relevant social sciences subject.
• A strong background/interest in the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Personal attributes:
• An ability to work independently and with initiative and a high level of self-motivation.
• Ability to prioritise tasks to achieve project goals and meet deadlines.
• Ability to problem-solve, innovate or adapt.
• Strong interpersonal skills.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the Global Challenges Scholarship.
The award comprises:

Full payment of tuition fees at UK Research Councils UK/EU fee level (£4,327 in 2019/20), to be paid by the University;
An annual tax-free doctoral stipend at UK Research Councils UK/EU rates (£15,009 for 2019/20), to be paid in monthly instalments to the Global Challenges scholar by the University;
The tenure of the award can be for up to 3.5 years (42 months).

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