Research Opportunities in the School of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Research Contact: Dr John Conway

Telephone: +44 (0)1285 652531 Ext: 2234


Apply for Research

Research Areas

We offer guidance and support for a wide range of research areas at Masters and Doctoral levels. These include:

Food Chain Studies

From primary production to consumers, including such areas as:

  • Food safety and quality assurance.
  • Industry business.
  • Finance and management strategies.
  • Technology adoption and adaption.
  • Consumer studies.

Sustainable Development and Agriculture

Sustainable agricultural production systems, including:

  • Improving the understanding of soil behaviour and management.
  • The exploitation of forage legume cropping for more sustainable animal production and improved soil fertility.
  • Developing lower input sustainable farming systems
  • Improving sustainable economics/profitability of crop performance.
  • Predictive modelling of crop growth.
  • Bio-energy crops.
  • Carbon sequestration and foot-printing studies.
  • Climate change impacts on agriculture and food production (all within the context of biodiversity and environmental sustainability).
  • Renewable energy as a farm diversification, on farm bio-security, and disease control. 

Soil Science

  • Investigating the current state of UK soils and their fitness for purpose in food production (especially in the light of current concerns about sustainable development).
  • Climate change.
  • The government's new Soil Strategy.
  • Opportunities for carbon sequestration in soils.

Renewable Energy and Biomass

  • Opportunities and economics of renewable energy production on farms, in particular but not exclusively, biofuel and biomass systems.

Sustainable Rural Development

  • Impacts of agri-environment schemes and rural policy with a focus on policy development and farmers' decision making.
  • Agricultural tenancies.
  • Multi-functionality.
  • Rural recreation and development.

Equine Studies

  • Horse breeding and genetics.
  • Behavioural characteristics.
  • Quality of pasture and preserved equine feedstuffs.

Researching at the University

Training is provided for all research students in formulating research enquiries, research methodology, statistics and IT (e.g. Genstat), and in techniques required for individual projects. Researchers are expected to contribute to our course of internal seminars and workshops, to support taught postgraduate degree courses, input to research methodology modules and presentation of posters/papers at conferences. The research community has a high level of integration with academic staff which facilitates communication and exchange of ideas.

Course Fees

For information about the current course fees, click here

Current PhD projects

Our PhD students are currently engaged in widely varying topics, such as:

  • Developing sustainable agronomy.
  • Legume agronomy.
  • Carbon sequestration.
  • Engaging farmers in reducing their greenhouse emissions.
  • Food quality and security.
  • Developing crop performance models for novel forage crops.
  • Managing bio-security on farms.

Our students are from equally varied backgrounds, including Zimbabwe, Italy, India, Spain, Jordan and the UK, to name but a few. 

How to apply

We do not offer any scholarships or bursaries for research degrees; if you have the funding to cover tuition fees and project costs as well as your own living costs, the ambition and enthusiasm required to meet the challenges of postgraduate research and feel you can make a significant contribution to our research environment, please complete both the application and reference forms, and send evidence of funding for consideration by the Chairman of the Research Committee, Dr John Conway (

Periods of Registration

Study Method



PhD full-time

33 months

60 months

PhD part-time

45 months

72 months

Entry Requirements

  • The normal minimum entry requirement will be an Honours degree at upper second level or an equivalent academic qualification from a comparable international institution.
  • Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered for entry, following personal interview with the Director of Research.
  • If your first language is not English, we will require the International English Language Test (IELTS) with a minimum score of 7.0 in all elements.