Knowledge for a sustainable world

Andrew Westby, Stephanie Dyke

The UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training (UKFS-CDT) programme provides a unique opportunity for transformative and interdisciplinary food systems research. It is an innovative way of conducting a PhD centred on co-creation and exposure to a varied range of actors operating in UK food systems. 

The UKFS-CDT is offering up to 28 fully funded studentships for cohort 3 in 2023.

Research will be interdisciplinary, combining natural sciences and social sciences approaches, and linked to food systems stakeholders. The research scope includes (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Food environment, consumer behaviour, diets, nutrition and health (Healthy People)
  • Livestock health and welfare (Healthy Animals)
  • Environmental sustainability, climate change (Healthy Environment)
  • Food production, distribution, manufacturing and waste (Healthy Economy)
  • Food system governance and resilience (Healthy Society)

The UKFS-CDT welcomes interest from applicants with backgrounds in natural science, including STEM or social science. Recruitment is not restricted to UK applicants*, but PhD projects must be UK food systems focussed.

The aim of UKFS-CDT is to create cohorts of future food systems changemakers who can lead the UK towards a resilient, healthy and inclusive food future using new, holistic and critical interdisciplinary thinking. 

The UKFS-CDT brings together nine academic and research organisations, the students benefit from training provided by all partners. Each studentship is connected to a specific partner to register and complete the PhD research project. The Partners are: NRI of the University of Greenwich (lead institution), University College London (UCL), Royal Veterinary College, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University,Centre for Food Policy at City University, University of Sussex, and Brunel University London; and two leading agricultural research institutes, NIAB EMR and Rothamsted Research.

The UKFS-CDT programme is a bespoke interdisciplinary food systems programme with a novel approach to doctoral training. The PhD programme will start in September 2023. In the first year, each UKFS-CDT student undertakes training activities based at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) of the University of Greenwich in Medway, Kent and roadshow visits to partner institutions will take place until the end of November 2023. Then students will embark on two 4-month rotation projects at two different institutions in the UKFS-CDT consortium. Rotation projects are clearly defined studies designed to provide our students with the research skills, training and subject knowledge required to prepare a full interdisciplinary PhD proposal at the end of year 1. The PhD project will commence in year 2. There will also be a three-month placement with industry, government or civil society in the second or third year of the PhD programme.

UKFS-CDT values equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI) and we welcome applications from anyone regardless of age, disability, race/ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.  We encourage individuals who have had worked in relevant sectors, a change in disciplines or career paths or career breaks, e.g. caring responsibilities, to apply.

We actively promote and encourage a more inclusive environment. We aim to provide high standards of support to all participants in order to ensure that each doctoral student has the skills and opportunities to excel in the programme. UKFS CDT MASTER 750

For more information about the programme, and to apply please visit the UKFS-CDT website


If you’d like to know more:

You are invited to join an introduction for applicants on Wednesday, 14th December 2022 or Tuesday, 10th January 2023.

The session will be hosted online, aimed at people who are interested in applying for the programme. Please signed up here:

Wednesday, 14th December | Tuesday, 10th January 2023

Key Dates & How to Apply


Interested applicants should continue to read the UKFS-CDT website, including the Application Guidelines, and complete the application process by 23:59 GMT on Monday, 23rd January 2023. 


*The funders of the programme (UKRI) cap the maximum number of international students in each cohort to 30%. We aim to recruit 28 studentships in cohort 3, providing a maximum of eight studentships for international applicants and 20 studentships for applicants who are UK nationals.