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Quantifying the true cost of farming systems

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, January 29, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This fully-funded 4 year PhD studentship is a unique opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary cohort of PhD students tackling one of the most serious issues facing the world today. There will be roughly 2.3 billion more people on the planet by 2050. Most arable land worldwide is already in use, and water and energy are also limited. In this context, how can we feed the world sustainably? And how can we ensure global food security – meaning safe, reliable, affordable access to nutritious food - for all the people of the world?

Farming Futures is an ambitious new PhD partnership between the University of Bristol and Rothamsted Research, combining world-class research expertise and some of the UK’s best research facilities. Together, we aim to tackle the challenges of food insecurity head-on. For further information see

We recognise the key role that the next generation of researchers will play in driving this field forward, and we are committed to attracting the very best global PhD candidates. We are delighted to announce that we are currently advertising five PhD studentships, of which this is one. The PhD topics have been co-designed to individually and collectively make an impact and provide a springboard for talented PhD candidates from diverse backgrounds to work together and make a difference.

The project:
With food security becoming a major concern of humankind, there is a clear need to improve the productivity of agricultural systems so that more food can be produced from less resources. This challenge has primarily been tackled through the breeding of high yielding cultivars of a few major crops that rely on intensive inputs of fertiliser and pesticides. This strategy has often been accompanied by significant environmental and ecological damages, incurring ‘hidden costs’ uncaptured within traditional farm business models.

Using a diverse range of primary data collected from a long-term field trial and employing the method of true cost accounting, the proposed interdisciplinary project will aim to quantify the all-inclusive cost, or the shadow price, for several cropping strategies, with the view to derive robust policy recommendations for the UK government and beyond.

As a Farming Futures doctoral student you will become a member of the University of Bristol Cabot Institute for the Environment, Rothamsted Research and the Bristol Doctoral College, giving you access to the full range of personal and professional development training and community-building events. You will have a supervisory team that will include researchers from both organisations.

How to apply:
Please make an online application for this project using the postgraduate application system Please select ‘Faculty of Health Sciences’ and then ‘Veterinary Sciences_(PhD)(4yr)’ on the Programme Choice page. In the funding section of the online form applicants must state that they are applying for a Farming Futures studentship. See the Farming Futures webpage for further details.

Candidate requirements: Candidates should possess a degree in a relevant subject area, such as a 2:1 or higher in agricultural science or a related discipline aligned to the research programme.

Closing date: 5pm 29th January 2019


Funding Notes

Funding: international, EU/UK fees; £14,777 annual stipend; research allowance

How good is research at University of Bristol in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.03

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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