Centre for Food, Agriculture and Environmental Management (CAFEM) Research studentship


Qualification type: PhD

Location: Hatfield, United Kingdom

Funding for: UK applicants or permanent residency

Funding amount: The three-year studentship includes an annual tax-free stipend of £15,285 (standard RCUK rate) in academic year 2020-21 and tuition fees.

Duration: Three years

Closing application date: Friday 4 December

Interviews: Remote interviews will take place in December. Invitations to interview will be sent within 2 weeks of the application deadline. We may be unable to inform unsuccessful applicants due to the volume of applications.

Expected start: January 2021

Project outline

This PhD studentship will be on a subject of strategic importance to the Centre for Food, Agriculture and Environmental Management (CAFEM) Research, part of the School of Life & Medical Sciences.

Details of potential subject areas/supervisors can be found on the list of core CAFEM staff on the University of Hertfordshire Research Information System.

The supervisory team must fit the criteria of the Doctoral College and should include at least one member of CAFEM staff. Involvement of staff who are ECRFs or have protected characteristics (see below) is encouraged.

Research is focused within three research clusters that align to the Centre’s core strengths.

Crop protection and climate change

Research focuses on sustainable, environmentally benign strategies for control of crop pests, nematodes and diseases, under impacts of climate change, with applications to control of some human diseases. This includes work on plant biochemistry, genomics of resistance to crop pathogens, modelling impacts of climate change, use of mycoviruses for bio-control, biocontrol of nematodes, integrated control of strawberry pests and diseases, control of mycotoxins, pathogen fungicide insensitivity, control of malarial mosquitos and the genomes of grass leaf blotch pathogens.

Agriculture and environmental management

Research specialises in agri-environmental science, water resource management and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Work includes adapting to climate change in agricultural ecosystems, irrigation systems in India, impacts of climate change on glacial geomorphology, and monitoring and modelling melting of Arctic and Himalayan ice loss.

Food policy, nutrition and diet

Research addresses food in relation to diet and its impact on disease, and policy and governance impacts on the food system. Examples include work on: the estimation of energy expenditure in obese adults, precision nutrition, food exchange modelling in free-living populations, dietary magnesium intake in hypertensives, and policy, planning and governance interventions to enhance food sustainability.

There is substantial collaborative research between the three research groups within the Centre. Examples that enhance multi-disciplinarity include linking work on nutrition to expertise with primary crop and livestock production and wider use of transcriptomics, genomics, and molecular and computational modelling to support work on microbiology and crop protection, and reduced tillage farming.

Essential criteria

Essential criteria:

  • Good BSc/BA/MSc/MA degrees in relevant disciplines
  • Experience of conducting a research project e.g. undergraduate dissertation
  • Experience in quantitative data analysis and software.

Please note that research costs are not covered and this must be discussed with potential supervisors in advance of submitting a project title.

Application process

  • A completed application form, available here.
  • Two academic references
  • Copies of qualification certificates and transcripts
  • A copy of passport photo page
  • Certification of English language competence (minimum IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

The PhD will be based in the School of Life and Medical Sciences. Our research environment is enriched by the diversity of our staff and students and we take a responsible approach towards further progressing inclusivity. Overall, 35% of our postgraduate research students are of minority ethnic heritage; 65% self-identify as females; and 16.4% have declared a disability. We recognise that subject level trends differ and that nationally there is much more to be achieved in addressing diversity in the pipeline to success in a research career. That is why we wholeheartedly encourage applications from people who identify with a protected characteristic; those from areas with traditionally low participation education; and people who are the first to study at university in their family.

For enquiries regarding research degrees and the application process, please email Lynette Spelman at doctoralcollegeadmissions@herts.ac.uk.

For enquiries concerning this studentship please email Dr Yongju Huang, Research Admissions Tutor (y.huang8@herts.ac.uk)

Email subject lines should read: PhD studentship in The Centre for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Management Research

Please send completed applications forms and supporting documents to the Doctoral College at doctoralcollegeadmissions@herts.ac.uk.

References should be sent direct from the referees to the Doctoral College at doctoralcollegeadmissions@herts.ac.uk.