Fully Funded PhD in Sustainable Terrestrial and Maritime Food Systems, University of Hull, UK

About this project

Increasing and diverse uses of the marine environment are leading to cluttered physical and policy seascapes in the UK and elsewhere.

There are ambitious plans for large scale offshore wind deployments to meet our increasing energy needs and the drive for a low carbon economy. To tackle both the climate change and nature emergencies, increasing numbers of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being designated. Historically, our seas have been used by a relatively small group of industries, but fishing, energy, telecommunications and aquaculture are increasingly competing for access to the same marine area. In the UK, marine use is controlled by different policies and strategies such as the future fisheries policy, Net Zero, 30 x 30, the multiannual national plan for the development of sustainable aquaculture and the UK’s targets for a fivefold increase in offshore wind supply to 50GW by 2030. These policies and strategies are in turn driven by big ideas such as sustainable food production, Blue Carbon, Marine Spatial Planning, Ecosystem services and Maximum Sustainable Yield. With increasing spatial squeeze the battle between different policies, strategies and big ideas is becoming more fraught with user and stakeholder groups becoming ever more polarised. This PhD will use policy analysis and social science methodologies to understand marine use, marine policies and targets in an increasingly competitive space. An aim of the PhD will be to recommend useful approaches to managing our common resource.

The successful candidate will be based on the University of Hull campus and will be provided with physical workspace and the specific equipment and resources needed for their research. They will benefit from interaction with stakeholders from both industries and from government. The successful student will benefit from joining a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment, and will be provided with excellent opportunities for external networking. We will hold regular meetings with the entire cluster, with opportunities to present and discuss research, invite internal and external speakers and collaborators and foster networking.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Charlotte Hopkins.

About the research cluster
Sustainable Terrestrial and Maritime Food Systems: Environmental Technologies and their Implications

This PhD project is part of a cluster of inter-related, inter-disciplinary projects, which between them focus on the implications of environmental technologies for the practices of people involved in primary food production on both land and sea. Our food and energy production systems contribute significantly to environmental problems, including climate change, and technological solutions are often proposed as ways of reducing their carbon footprints. Yet these can be challenging to implement and can have unanticipated effects on the practices of those engaged in farming and fishing. This cluster of projects involves a combination of scientific projects aiming to develop and test different environmental technologies, and social science projects aiming to look at the effects on the practices of primary food producers as society aims for a low carbon world. Specifically, the cluster will: 1. advance the development of two technologies for use in terrestrial food production and examine the implications of these for farmers, and 2. examine the effects on the small-scale fishing industry of high energy prices and large scale offshore wind deployment.

As part of a PhD cluster, in addition to becoming an expert in your own area you will join a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment with other researchers around a common theme. You will be part of regular cluster meetings where you can present and discuss your research, as well as engaging with the wider community of postgraduate researchers in the university. You will have opportunities to build relationships with external stakeholders, and you will be supported in development towards your future career – whether that be within or without academia.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

Research training

As a postgraduate researcher here at the University of Hull you will undertake the Postgraduate Training Scheme alongside your main degree, to help you develop the research skills and knowledge you’ll need in your future career. You will gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Research Training in additional to your PhD.

How to apply

You will need to supply a personal statement when applying for this scholarship position. Find out more about writing a personal statement. Please also ensure you include the following information:

What motivates you to pursue PhD study

Why you are interested in this project

How your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need

The wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.

Apply for this scholarship: full-time | part-time

Closing date for applications

Friday 30 June 2023


The successful applicants will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant/stipend for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 22/23 is £4,596 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £17,668 per annum. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.

If you need to move into a fourth year (full-time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period and you will be required to pay a continuation fee.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 in a relevant undergraduate degree. A Masters degree in a relevant area would be an advantage but is not required.

As this is an interdisciplinary project, applicants are encouraged from a range of relevant backgrounds; if in doubt, please speak with us. Interest in and enthusiasm for the topic is essential. Prior experience or knowledge of the following would be an advantage:

Marine policy

Marine spatial planning

Social science methodologies

For more details on our entry requirements please visit the postgraduate admissions webpage.

This scholarship is available for full-time and part-time study.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a Home fee waiver only, which will not cover the full International fee. You will therefore need to pay the difference between the Home fee and the International fee and will need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover this.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full-time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

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