Knowledge for a sustainable world

Food and Nutrition Security Initiative - FaNSI

NRI is pleased to announce the following PhD opportunities created under FaNSI.

 

Innovative fertiliser solutions to combat Striga on smallholder sorghum farms in Africa (3E 2019 1).
Lead Supervisor: Dr Jonne Rodenburg
The most important biological production constraint to sorghum is Striga hermonthica, a noxious parasitic weed. Research will be undertaken in Africa to assess farmer perceptions regarding sorghum varieties and fertiliser innovations and to test different combinations in farmers’ fields alongside current farmer practices and varieties.
Closing date for applications: 31/10/2019
Further details and how to apply: link to University of Greenwich website - coming soon

Impact and adoption of quality protein maize in Ethiopia (3E 2019 – 2)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Apurba Shee
The research aims at assessing adoption and impacts of quality protein maize (QPM) on household food and nutritional household diets, and the nutritional adequacy of diets for women and children, and to understand the mechanisms through which these effects are realised.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply: link to University of Greenwich website

Characterisation of Enset functional traits, growth dynamics and optimal management practices to improve Enset productivity and resilience in Ethiopia (3E 2019 – 3)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Lucie Büchi
The orphan crop Enset (Ensete ventricosum), a relative of banana (Musa sp.), is the main staple in southern Ethiopia where it is cultivated for its corm and pseudostem. The research aims to increase knowledge regarding sustainable Enset development and interactions with environmental factors, in a project involving experimental and field measurements, combined with remote sensing and modelling.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

Biotic and abiotic factors influencing the epidemics of cassava viral diseases in Africa (3E 2019 – 4)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Sophie Bouvaine
Cassava mosaic begomoviruses (CMVs) (family Geminiviridae) and Cassava brown streak ipomoviruses (CBSIs) (family Potyviridae) are transmitted by whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci species complex) and are causing two of the worst diseases that constrain production of the important staple crop cassava. The research aims to characterise the vector ability of African cassava whiteflies for cassava viruses from distinct genetic groups under different temperature conditions. This would then be used to model past and future epidemic outbreaks of the disease.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply: link to University of Greenwich website

Interactions between agricultural adaptations to climate change and vector-borne disease (3E 2019 – 5)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Frances Hawkes
The research will explore how proposed and/or practiced agricultural adaptations to climate change in Tanzania may impact on the ecology and biology of insect vectors of disease and, ultimately, disease risk. The project will focus on mosquitoes as the primary vectors of malaria and other neglected arboviruses and rice cultivation as an area of agricultural growth that is closely associated with climate dependencies, particularly water availability, and established interactions with mosquito populations through the provision of larval habitats.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply: link to University of Greenwich website

Compiling global lessons to improve nutrition in traditional food systems, from multi-country evidence on drivers of food choice (3E 2019 – 6)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Julia de Bruyn
This research comprises an in-depth analysis of factors underlying the sustainability and nutritional impact of traditional rural food systems. The project will assess how local diets are currently influenced by agricultural practices, environments, livelihood capitals, cultural norms and gender roles, and evaluate the trade-offs which may exist between nutritional and environmental outcomes. The research will leverage data collected through three current or recent projects at the Natural Resources Institute: two in Uganda and one in Peru.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

The role of species-combination pollination systems in crop production, crop stress responses and fruit/vegetable quality (3E 2019 8)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Sarah Arnold
There is increasing evidence that pollination efficacy depends not just upon many visits by one pollinator species, but by visitation from complementary pollinator species, e.g. bumblebees and hoverflies, or small and large bees. The reasons for this require further research, and it is still necessary to build a full picture of how this translates to benefits for growers and consumers.
This multidisciplinary project will explore the benefits and implementation of multiple-species pollination for UK crops (e.g. strawberry, apple), and also the possible benefits for African food security (on insect-pollinated crops such as legumes and cucurbits).
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

Reducing acrylamide risk in processed sweetpotato (3E 2019 9)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Richard Colgan
Acrylamide is common in foods derived from grains, tubers, beans and storage roots, including potatoes, cereal grains and sweetpotato. It is produced where glucose, fructose or maltose react with free (soluble, non-protein) asparagine in the Maillard reaction at high cooking temperatures (> 120º C). This research will investigate the asparagine synthesis pathway in sweetpotato as a means to select breeding material with a reduced propensity to generate acrylamide. Field-based surveys in sub-Saharan African countries will evaluate the risk acrylamide contamination poses in fried and processed sweetpotato food stuffs.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

Development of a solar-assisted off-grid retrofitted fluidized bed dryer to be used for granular materials in developing countries (3E 2019 – 10)
Lead Supervisor: Dr Marcelo Precoppe and Dr Pablo Garcia-Trinanes
By comparison with fixed bed dryers, fluidized bed dryers operate at higher air velocity, making the product suspend and become fluidized. However, they are rarely used by smallholders in developing countries. That is because the design and construction of fluidized bed dryers are more complex, particularly the fan, that needs to be properly dimensioned to be able to correctly fluidize the product. Moreover, in developing countries, fuel cost is the main expenditure of processing centres. To reduce the use of fossil fuel, pitched roofs could be adapted to work as solar collectors and preheat the drying air; converting a dryer to a solar-assisted equipment brings great economic and environmental benefits.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

Understanding the value chains and post-harvest losses and waste of small pelagic fish in Malawi (3E 2019 – 11)
Lead supervisor: John Linton
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, small pelagic fish are harvested exclusively by small-scale fishers. The fish broadly serves two markets: human food and animal feed. The value chain for Usipa (Engraulicypris sardella) is a case in point. The main objective of this research is to better understand the dynamics of the Usipa value chain, drivers of decisions made by value chain actors at different stages of the chain, and the impact of those decisions on the use of this resource.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

A food systems approach to understanding and supporting contributions of small pelagic fish to human diets and nutrition in Malawi (3E 2019 – 12)
Lead supervisor: John Linton
For many households in sub-Saharan Africa, small pelagic fish (such as Usipa (Engraulicypris sardella) in Malawi) are a rich source of high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The main aim of this research is to develop an improved understanding of the contribution of Usipa to dietary adequacy and nutritional outcomes in Malawi. The ultimate objective is to provide evidence to inform policy and practice that will maximise the contribution of Usipa to human nutrition.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website

Exploring Linkages between climate change, conflict and food security in a pastoral context (3E 2019 – 13)
Lead Supervisor: Professor John Morton
The research will focus on the perceptions and interpretations of pastoralists (and their neighbours) of the multiple potential causal linkages between climate variability, conflict of various levels of intensity, and non-climate factors such as the strength of local institutions, national political trends, and shifts in livestock prices and geographical patterns of livestock trade. One of the objectives of the research will be to explore methodologies for investigating such potential linkages, these may include visualisations such as participatory risk mapping, resource mapping and timelines, as well as collection of individual and collective narratives, which could be collated through qualitative database software or more innovative programs.
Closing date for applications: 10/11/2019
Further details and how to apply:
link to University of Greenwich website