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Graduate Admissions


Collaborative research is proposed exploring emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) technologies and global food systems; while assessing the implications for evolving UK markets and for consumers including vulnerable groups.

The overarching aims of the research are:

To understand the complexities and dynamics of emerging FIR technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI); and how, through a horizon scanning lens (economic, environmental, political, social, legal) this impacts on UK and global food supply chains, systems and markets.

Forward looking assessment of the potential impact FIR technologies would have on the UK/ global food sector; and the implications this would have in a food safety regulatory context i.e. identifying probable emerging risks (public health/ food access etc.) as well as opportunities (such as smarter more targeted and proportionate ways of regulation etc.).

To understand the impact FIR technologies are likely to have on consumers in terms of choice, access, preferences, quality of life, and standard of living. Also how FIR technologies affect consumer's connection to the food system, for example does convenience mean decreased connection? In addition, a better understanding of consumers' perception of the risks from the adoption of thee new and emerging technologies.

Identifying likely winners and losers resulting from disruptive FIR technologies i.e. groups and sectors affected, such as vulnerable groups, SMEs, emerging sectors etc.

Academic input will include World Economic Forum work on the impact of FIR technologies on productions systems, OECD studies on investment in the digital economy, European project work on digitalisation of food supply chains, and Industrial consortia case studies on digital supply chain transformation pathways.

Start date: 1 October 2019

Duration of studentship: If you have sufficient prior training, e.g. a Master's qualification and/or advanced training in social scientific and research methods, you may be able to start a three-year doctoral programme straight away (3 years in total). Whatever your level of prior training, the DTP will offer additional opportunities to enhance your methodological and professional skills base.

Funding: A full DTP studentship will cover fees and provide £14,553 p.a. in living costs (2018 rates). DTP students also receive a personal allowance for additional training costs, and can apply for further funding to pursue fieldwork, academic exchange, and collaboration with non-academic organisations.

Eligibility: DTP studentships are currently open to UK and EU citizens. Full studentships are open only to those meeting certain residency requirements.

To apply: Please send two-page CV, your undergraduate transcripts, a covering letter describing your previous research experience and why you want to undertake a PhD and a copy of a proof of residence in the UK/EU to Karen Smith ( to arrive by noon on 3rd January 2019.

Informal enquiries about the vacancy can be made to Dr. Jag Srai (

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications.

The applicant portal can be accessed via: The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2019, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

Key Information

Department of Engineering

Reference: NM17619

Dates and deadlines:

Thursday, 6 December, 2018
Closing Date
Thursday, 3 January, 2019