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Using eye tracking and behaviour analysis to assess consumer acceptability of sustainable foods produced in an aquaponics system as part of the international Aquaponics from Wastewater Reclamation project (AWARE)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Stephen Gallagher, Dr Claire Campbell, Prof Helene McNulty  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project is aligned with the Horizon Europe AWARE project focused on aquaculture (fish production) as a key element in addressing global future food demand and sustainability challenges.  Aquaponics is a type of water system to grow and produce fish and plant foods together.  It requires no soil and uses water from fish production to support plant growth, to be more efficient.  The interdisciplinary AWARE project hopes to increase the ability to sustainably produce fish for human consumption in every European city, with no impact on natural habitats, no dependence from natural freshwater availability, and not at risk to climate change.  The important knowledge gained from this project will be used to change policy and future food production in Europe.

Within the AWARE project, the purpose of this PhD project will be to do human studies to test assess consumer acceptance of fish and vegetables produced in the new aquaponics (water) system.  Using a range of research methods, the PhD research objectives will be to:

a) systematically review the global use of aquaponics systems in food production and the impact on consumer choices;

b) obtain ethical approval for the human trial(s);

c) conduct preference assessments on sustainably produced fish and/or vegetables in comparison to more traditional products;

d) conduct behavioural discounting studies with regard to the sustainability, cost, nutritional and quality of sustainably produced fish and/or vegetables;

e) use eye tracking equipment to compare participant gaze behaviour to verbal reports regarding choices between the new food products and more traditional products.

The PhD researcher will be given every opportunity for training, by being part of the wider interdisciplinary AWARE project, along with other workshops, specialist skills training courses, and personal development activities organised by the Doctoral College. In addition, the PhD candidate will be expected present their research findings at conferences.

Please note: Applications for more than one PhD studentship are welcome, however if you apply for more than one PhD project within Psychology, your first application on the system will be deemed your first-choice preference and further applications will be ordered based on the sequential time of submission. If you are successfully shortlisted, you will be interviewed only on your first-choice application and ranked accordingly. Those ranked highest will be offered a PhD studentship. In the situation where you are ranked highly and your first-choice project is already allocated to someone who was ranked higher than you, you may be offered your 2nd or 3rd choice project depending on the availability of this project.


Recommended reading:
[1] Bohnes, Florence Alexia, et al. "Environmental sustainability of future aquaculture production: Analysis of Singaporean and Norwegian policies." Aquaculture 549 (2022): 737717.
[2] 4 European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA), 2021,”Freshwater Aquaculture in the EU
[3] SCAR-Fish, 2020, “evaluation of the freshwater aquaculture research needs in Europe”,
[4] Holmqvist, K., Nyström, M., Andersson, R., Dewhurst, R., Jarodzka, H., & Van de Weijer, J. (2017). Eye tracking: A comprehensive guide to methods and measures. Oxford University Press.
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