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Project 3: Developing and applying digital technologies to support smallholder farmers in Southern Africa (

Department of Environment and Geography

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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Dr Eleanor Jew No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
York United Kingdom Agricultural Technology Data Analysis Development Studies Food Production Machine Learning Software Engineering

About the Project

This is one of four potential projects.

Developing and applying digital technologies to support smallholder farmers in Southern Africa ([Email Address Removed])

Climate Smart Agriculture technologies have been promoted widely across Southern Africa. Despite huge investment, adoption levels remain low and farmers often revert to previous methods. Constraints at household level, particularly health and nutrition, are key barriers to CSA adoption yet most projects promote generalised field level interventions and advice. Vast amounts of health, nutrition, economic and agro-ecological data exist, but are under-utilised. Mobile phone and technology access is spreading rapidly, and App services such as WeFarm are operating field-level advice services. This interdisciplinary project will work with these providers, NGOs and the Malawi University of Science and Technology to provide holistic advice for smallholder farmers, improving field and farmer health to create climate resilient, sustainable food systems. 

All projects require an interest in environmental issues and in addition: social science or ageing/gerontology background and qualitative research expertise (project 1); a good degree in Chemistry, Biology, Natural/Environmental Sciences or Mathematics (projects 2, 4); statistical expertise and interests in App development and machine learning (project 3). 

Funding Notes

A 3-year PhD studentship will be funded by the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York starting in September 2021. The PhD studentship is available to UK students only.

To apply you will need:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV)/resumé demonstrating a high level of academic achievement and appropriate non-academic experience. Please include high school results.
  • Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date. If you have not yet completed your current degree, you must send an official transcript of your results so far.
  • Personal Statement. State clearly which project you are interested in and outline (i) why you are interested in this topic (ii) what motivates you to pursue PhD study, (iii) describe your research experience and how your skill set matches the requirements, (iv) the wider importance of your selected project.
  • Two academic References. It is your responsibility to request these references and ensure that they are sent to us.

Funding Notes

There is one 3-year PhD Studentship available at the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. Only one of the four potential projects will receive funding.
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