PhD Opportunities

We are advertising two projects to start in early 2023. Please note that studentships for these projects are available only to applicants who are eligible to register as students with UK fees status.

Project Number Project title Lead Supervisor  Co-Supervisor / University
  Cranfield University
FBS2022-35-Johnston-cr Optimizing UK landscapes for agroecosystem resilience Dr Alice Johnston Professor Simon Potts, University of Reading
FBS2022-38-Kirk-cr Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils through silicate weathering Professor Guy Kirk Professor John Hammond, University of Reading

How to apply

  • Please apply on the online line application website (CVs will not be accepted).
  • You will need the following documents to support your application
    • Official transcripts of your higher education qualifications, inclusive of grades
    • Evidence of your proficiency in English, if English is not your first language.
  • You will also be asked to provide the name and email address of someone who will provide a confidential academic reference letter. The DTP office will request the letter from your referee if you are shortlisted for interview.
  • Closing date for applications is 10 October 2022, 10.00am GMT
  • Interview date will be in early November.

Before you decide to apply, please read the information below for important information about academic and funding eligibility and language proficiency.

Being a FoodBioSystems DTP funded student

As a FoodBioSystems postgraduate research student you will undertake paid training that leads towards a PhD and equips you with extra skills and knowledge to support your future career. Your research project will be co-supervised across two institutes within our academic partnership and you will take part in our training programme to gain a core understanding of food systems, data analysis and modelling. You will also follow a programme of subject specific learning, depending on your needs. In addition, you will carry out a professional internship (generally not related to the research project). The FoodBioSystems DTP is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), to building a doctoral researcher (DR) and staff body that reflects the diversity of society, and to encourage applications from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Our actions to promote Diversity and Inclusion are detailed here.

FoodBioSystems DTP students receive an annual tax free stipend (salary). For 2022/23 this will be £17,668 and this will increase slightly each year at rate set by UKRI.

Please also explore our website to find our more about the DTP training programme, current projects at the 6 partner universities and meet some of our researchers to check out what they have said about their research and training experiences so far.

About DTP studentships

Stipend (Salary)

FoodBioSystems DTP students receive an annual tax free stipend (salary) which is paid in instalments throughout the year. For 2022/23 this will be £17,668  and this will increase slightly each year at rate set by UKRI. There will also be a contribution towards research costs.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

The FoodBioSystems DTP is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), to building a doctoral researcher (DR) and staff body that reflects the diversity of society, and to encourage applications from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Our actions to promote Diversity and Inclusion are detailed here.  Our studentships are offered on a part time basis in addition to full time registration. The minimum registration is 50% FT and the studentship end date will be extended to reflect the part-time registration. We recommend that if part-time studentships are combined with paid employment, the combined time commitment does not exceed 48 hours per week.

Academic Eligibility

A minimum of an upper 2nd class degree is required in a subject appropriate to the PhD project (see the project description for more info). Candidates with a lower class of Bachelors degree, but a good performance at the Masters level (“merit” or above) will also be considered. If you have an international qualification, please check the degree course eligibility information provided by Cranfield University, before you apply to the DTP.

Funding Eligibility

Due to funding requirements, this studentship is only open to students who are eligible for home student status. To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Be an Irish citizen (meeting residency requirements). or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

For further information about eligibility for UK home fees status please see:
For studentships in England (Brunel, Cranfield, Reading, Surrey): https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/eligibility-for-home-fee-status-and-student-support-in-england/Funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is only available to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria set out in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) harmonized training terms and conditions which you can find here. Offers of studentships to successful candidates will be conditional on acceptance onto PhD programmes as home fees students at the host universities.

Language Proficiency

Candidates must show the necessary levels of English proficiency required by the university that will be hosting the PhD Studentship (the university where the project lead supervisor works). If you have completed a degree or higher degree in a course that was taught in English this may be sufficient evidence of your language proficiency. Please check the relevant university website for further details. If the website does not provide the information you are looking for, please contact the relevant university admissions office.
Aberystwyth University
Brunel University
Cranfield University
Queen’s University Belfast
University of Reading
University of Surrey

How we select our students

  • Applications received before the closing date and time will be considered in two stages:
    • The application will considered by the PhD project supervisors who will not know your name, contact details or degree awarding university until after shortlisting.
    • If your application is shortlisted you will receive an invitation to an interview (by skype, teams or zoom). As part of the interview you will be asked to give a short research presentation (maximum 5 minutes) followed by 5 minutes for questions about the presentation. 
    • If you are selected for an interview, a panel of reviewers from the DTP Selection Committee will also assess the answers you give in the application form.  They will not know your name, contact details or degree awarding university at this stage.
  • Shortlisting and selection panel assessment is based on the information you provide about:
      • your academic qualifications
      • research relevant skills/experience (e.g. data management, data analysis, ability to extract key information from literature, strong writing and presentation skills)
      • the transferable skills important to a PhD student (e.g. organisational, team, communication and problem-solving)
      • your understanding of the UK Agri-Food Sector
      • suitability of your academic background, skills and experience for undertaking the specific PhD project

    The DTP office will request the letter from your referee if you are shortlisted for interview. The selection panel will make the final decision on project allocation, taking into account applicants’ performance at interview and reviewer assessments.