UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training

UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training scholarships (2022)

This 4-year programme is aimed at graduates with a strong interest in multi-disciplinary research and interdisciplinary food systems perspectives. Understanding the complex food system challenges requires holistic and novel interdisciplinary thinking. We invite highly motivated individuals from a wide range of academic or career backgrounds including social sciences, humanities and natural and physical sciences to apply.

What you get

PhD studentships cover four years of UK PhD fees and a tax free maintenance allowance (currently £15,609) plus some research and training costs.

UK and international students are eligible to apply.

Type of award

PhD scholarship

PhD project

Your research project will be fundamentally interdisciplinary and combine natural sciences and social sciences approaches, and methods. All students will work with food systems stakeholders in their studies. Research can encompass (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Environmental sustainability, climate change (Healthy Environment)
  • Food production, distribution, manufacturing and waste (Healthy Economy)
  • Food Environment, Consumer Behaviour, Diets, Nutrition and Health (Healthy People)
  • Food System Governance and Resilience (Healthy Society)
  • Livestock health and welfare (Healthy Animals)

You will have supervisors from at least two UK Food Systems partner organisations ( two academic partners or one academic partner and one non-academic partner from the Food Systems Academy) and will follow the 4 year training programme with taught modules and two research placements/laboratory rotations in year one. You will select and develop your project during year one and will focus on your doctoral project in years two to four. Each student will initially register as a student with the University of Greenwich. After the first 12 months, when the PhD research starts, student registration will be transferred to the University of the first supervisor (or the second supervisor, if the first supervisor works at NIAB-EMR or Rothamsted Research).

You apply to the UK Food Systems programme rather than to a specific project, although you can express an interest in a particular theme or project.

This year, In addition to the standard track, applicants also have the option to apply to our "tethered" scholarship track.

By applying to the tethered track (on the standard application form), applicants are indicating their preference to undertake their full PhD project from year 2 onwards at Sussex. One of the 4-month rotation projects in year 1 will be based at Sussex, complemented with a second rotation from those offered by the other consortium institutions. 

In the selection process, shortlisted candidates will be ranked according to their scores in the section/interview process. From this ranked list, offers will first be made to fill the tethered track scholarships followed by the standard track.




Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a Bachelor or Masters degree in a relevant subject with a first or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent.

We would welcome applicants who have demonstrable research skills gained from an academic or a non-academic background.

UKFS-CDT values equality, diversity, inclusion 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.

All students will be recruited and selected under a single UKFS-CDT banner and not to individual partner institutions.

International and UK applicants are eligible to apply but PhD research projects must be UK food systems focussed.  

Applicants whose first language is not English and are not a national of a country deemed by the UK Home Office to be “majority English speaking” must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programme. 




Number of scholarships available

UKFS-CDT offers 15+ UKRI doctoral studentships each year.


22 February 2022 23:59

How to apply

The  UK Food Systems studentship competition is open for applications with a February 22nd 2022 deadline.

Full details on the application process are here:  You need to apply for a PhD place at the University of Greenwich and to complete the Food Systems CDT forms, 

Further information about applications and about the UK Food Systems doctoral progamme is available on the centre website.

Although you may express an interest in a research theme or project, you apply to the 4 year programme rather than to a specific project and all applications are submitted on the University of Greenwich application system. If you are accepted onto the programme, you will be registered at Greenwich for the first year of the programme, but will be registered at the institution of your main supervisor for the remaining 3 years.

To complete the application you will not submit a Research Proposal but you will need to upload:

- the UK Food Systems CDT application form with your personal statement 

- two references

- a CV

- academic transcripts or professional qualifications;

- proof of English language qualifications and passport scan if applicable

Candidates will be shortlisted in March and interviews will take place in early April.

Scholarship success stories

A virtual event for applicants with a question & answer session, hosted by Professor Andrew Westby and the UKFS-CDT team, 17:30 GMT on Thursday 3rd February 2022. Please email for event details.

Funding partners

The UKFS-CDT is managed by the Partnership for Sustainable Food Future (PSFF), a consortium of nine UK universities and research institutes - the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, University College London, Royal Veterinary College, Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, Centre for Food Policy at City University, University of Sussex, and Brunel University London, NIAB EMR and Rothamsted Research, plus over 50 partners from business, government and civil society.

The UKFS-CDT and the PSFF are supported through the £5 million Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) 'Transforming the UK Food System for Healthy People and a Healthy Environment Programme' ( ), delivered by UKRI, in partnership with the Global Food Security Programme, BBSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, Defra, DHSC, PHE, Innovate UK and FSA. The programme aims to fundamentally transform the UK food system by placing healthy people and a healthy natural environment at the centre, addressing questions around what we should eat, produce and manufacture and what we should import, taking into account the complex interactions between health, environment and socioeconomic factors. By co-designing research and training across disciplines and stakeholders, and joining up healthy and accessible consumption with sustainable food production and supply, this Programme will deliver coherent evidence to enable concerted action from policy, business and civil society.

Contact us

For general enquires regarding the doctoral programme or the UK Food Systems Academy please contact :

For Sussex specific questions please contact Amanda Britt, Research and Enterprise -

Further information on the UK Food Systems CDT website.


The timetable is as follows:

Deadline for receipt of application forms  - February 22nd 2022 23.59 GMT

Shortlisting - March 2022

Inteviews via zoom - early April 2022

Awards confirmed in late April/early May 2022




At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
22 February 2022 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: