PhD projects

Governing agricultural sustainability transitions – Auvikki de Boon
This project, in collaboration with Prof Camilla Sandström at Umea University (Sweden), aims to explore how to govern agricultural sustainability transitions in a way that ensures that both the transition process and its outcomes are sustainable and perceived as just and legitimate. A case study of the English agricultural transition is used. Papers one and two are already out.


Precision Livestock Farming: adoption, welfare, ethics – Juliette Schillings
This project, conducted by Juliette Schillings, aims to address ethical questions related to the use of Precision Livestock Farming. It explores factors driving adoption, participation, the effect of technologies on farm management and the human-animal relationship. Paper one and two are out.


 Farmer social media influencers in South Korea – Minju Kim

There is a growing popularity in the usage of social media by farmers, as well as becoming and interacting with ‘farmer-broadcasters. This project, conducted by Minju Kim, aims to explore the role of farmer influencers in social media and to examine how and why farmer influencers are influential on other farmers and can stimulate farmers’ Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) in South Korea. It will also explore farmers’ motivations to watch and engage with them and how users interpret the influencers’ videos. It aims to create opportunities for the role of social media by incorporating farmer influencers in extension. Supervised by Prof Henny Osbahr, Dr Sarah Cardey, and David Rose.


Biostimulants, soil health, and crop quality – Danni Roche (Cranfield-led)
To improve crop quality and quantity, biostimulants (made from plants and plant extracts; animal by-products; marine algae and seaweed extract) can be added to agricultural soils. They contain active substances that improve soil and crop health, thus producing higher yields and better quality foods. However, their influence and mechanisms are poorly understood. This PhD project aims to generate new insights into how soil management affects the performance of biostimulants in improving crop qualities such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, whilst also investigating the consumer facing impacts and value from fresh produce grown on better managed soils. The project is funded by BBSRC, FoodBioSystems DTP, in partnership with Sainsbury’s. Prof Jane Rickson leads the project at Cranfield with David co-supervising on the social science side.



Evaluating the impact of England’ Facilitation Fund Farming groups – Cath Jackson
Broadly the research aims to evaluate how farmers have been involved landscape-scale conservation projects to date, specifically exploring the nature of participation and facilitation of Facilitation Funds. This research is being undertaken by Cath Jackson part-time and is partially funded by Natural England. Prof Simon Mortimer lead supervises.