About the Project
This project is advertised as part of the Critical Decade for Climate Change – Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars programme. At UEA we are generating a new cohort of 21st Century climate thought leaders with the agile and interdisciplinary skills needed to lead a paradigm shift in how we respond to climate change. These programmes will train researchers to look at real-world data in near real-time to generate unique insights into why societies succeed or fail to respond to the threat of climate change. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online interview, currently planned at the end of May 2021.
Our global food system is responsible for about a quarter of global carbon emissions. Transformation of this system to lower the rates of emissions is therefore a critical part of any effective solution to meet climate change targets. The role of human diet is crucial, with a shift to a plant-rich diet potentially able to cut projected emissions by about half in this sector by 2100.
This PhD research project will seek to understand potential drivers of dietary changes that are aimed at reducing carbon emissions in different countries. It will investigate dietary interventions in two or three countries comprising a range of socio-economic situations and food consumption systems. The researcher will gather data on real time, future, and near-historical changes in diet, and create and test suggestions for approaches that will tackle this issue fast.
Indicative research questions
Are people already shifting towards more plant-based diets? What data tracks dietary trends, including on consumer behaviour and social norms, effectively?
What interventions change dietary patterns, and how? What is the relative role of information (on health, animal welfare, the environment) and appeals to status? How can creative, arts-based approaches help, through evoking personal connections, to bring about lasting change?
How far can these types of changes in individual dietary choices and aggregate trends reduce carbon emissions?
With a fully funded scholarship, and engagement with world-class research centres including the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the Norwich Institute for Sustainable Development (NISD), the Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) and the Quadram Institute, the student will be able to access an extensive range of formal and informal activities (supplementary information available upon request). Students will be also able to interact with the new cross-disciplinary £5m EDESIA programme supporting PhDs on plant-based food and health.
Applicants should have a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree and a relevant Master’s degree (ordinarily with a minimum average of 60%; or international equivalents). This should demonstrate the student’s expertise in quantitative research methods and capabilities in independent research and may include subjects such as development economics, psychology, climate change, nutrition, sustainable agriculture and/or international development.
For more information on the supervisor for the project, please go here. This is a PhD programme. The start date is 1st October 2021. The mode of study is full time. The studentship length is 4 years.
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