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Novel Fertility Management in Vegan Organic Cropping Systems, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
    Duration
University rank #531 (QS) Coventry, United Kingdom
Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in Novel Fertility Management in Vegan Organic Cropping Systems.
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Overview

This doctoral (PhD) project in Novel Fertility Management in Vegan Organic Cropping Systems has been devised and developed by a leading early-career researcher at Coventry University. 

The Trailblazer Scheme provides doctoral researchers with an innovative and dynamic intellectual space in which to undertake transformative research, whilst fully supported by a team of experienced supervisors.

Vegan and flexitarian diets are on the rise globally and research is needed to ensure that their production systems are as sustainable as possible. The maintenance of soil fertility is a particular issue in the production of ‘protected’ crops in glasshouses and polytunnels. 

These are often cropped intensively in order to make the best use of the financial investment in the infrastructure. For field crops organic farmers make use of green manures to build fertility in field rotations but these are more difficult to justify in protected cropping so there is often a reliance on animal manures and animal by-products. 

This can be ethically questionable and can make the farm less resilient as it increases the dependence on external inputs. 

This project will complement work already underway at CAWR within the H2020 Organic-PLUS project (https://organic-plus.net) concerning contentious inputs in organic agriculture. Close links will be maintained with commercial growers to ensure that the work has a meaningful impact.

Academic Environment

Coventry University has been the UK’s top modern university for seven consecutive years (Guardian University Guide 2013-2019) and holds a number of other prestigious accolades. Established in 2014 through substantial university investment, the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR) is rapidly building a global reputation for transdisciplinary research into processes of resilience in social-ecological systems. Among its key lines of research is work focusing on modelling of water and food systems, aided by high performance computing facilities.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Duration description

      between three and three and a half years fixed term

  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

This project will:
  • Identify and characterise the available vegan organic fertilisers.  
  • Evaluate these fertilisers using appropriate sustainability assessment tools and robustly designed field trials to measure crop performance and food quality, environmental impact and soil health.
  • Explore barriers to the adoption of novel vegan organic fertilisers and develop policy advice for stakeholders.

Lecturers

Dr Francis Rayns 

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:

    7

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: Upper Second Class

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to Upper Second Class on the UK Honour scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on the UK Honour scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • Expertise in several of these areas would be an advantage but this project is an opportunity to learn new skills and training will be provided when necessary.
  • To find out more about the project please contact francis.rayns@coventry.ac.uk
  • Full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.  

Work Experience

The successful candidate will have qualifications or practical experience in agriculture or horticulture – in particular knowledge of organic production techniques is desirable. The work will be varied and involve plant growth trials, laboratory analysis, desk based sustainability assessments and social science studies. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    Free
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 GBP per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    Free
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 GBP per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • Full studentship which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years. 
  • Stipend rates set by UKRI with an annual projected average increase of 1.25% per year. 
  • Basic research costs (e.g. equipment) are covered by Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience. The successful candidate will receive an additional allowance of £500 per annum for professional expenses.

Living costs for Coventry

  • 656 - 1060 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.

Funding

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