Funded PhD opportunities for researchers in projects focused within the UK Agriculture/Food chain

Job Description

The FoodBioSystems Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) is advertising 36 PhD projects in subject areas that span the entire food value chain. We are looking for candidates from a broad range of scientific backgrounds including biological sciences, food, nutrition, veterinary sciences and data science.

Opportunities are available at Aberystwyth University, Brunel University, Cranfield University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Reading and University of Surrey. We will be awarding a maximum of 24 studentships through a competitive process. Projects and supervisors are listed below:

Supervisor Host university Project Title

Avignone Rossa

University of Surrey BIO-ESPRESSO: Bio-Electrochemical System for Product REcovery from Spent Substrate cOffee waste
George Fern Brunel University Designer plant burgers – use of targeted biochemistry and chemistry to generate flavour (taste and aroma) during extrusion of plant protein
Andrew Lloyd Aberystwyth University Transgene free gene editing in plants via nanoparticles.
MariCarmen Alamar Cranfield University Predicting and understanding potato dormancy under interacting pre-harvest and postharvest conditions: a prerequisite for molecular breeding
Sarah Bath University of Surrey Variation in the iodine content of milk, dairy products, and eggs and the implication for UK iodine intake; studies at the farm, retail, and population level
Martha Betson University of Surrey New tools for sustainable control of liver fluke in ruminants
Maurice Bosch Aberystwyth University Evaluating XOS prebiotics as a key coproduct of a Miscanthus biomass biorefinery
Afroditi Chatzifragkou University of Reading Cricket Power: Protein for the Future
Eva Kevei University of Reading Investigating the impact of microplastics on the soil and gut microbiome and its cumulative effects on animal health
Ruan Elliott University of Surrey Beyond bone health: a multidisciplinary approach to define the functional effects of vitamin D on genomic stability
Geoffrey Gobert Queen’s University Belfast Environmental DNA from Fasciola parasites as a novel biomarker to improve agriculture in the UK
Terri Grassby University of Surrey Lupin-enhanced wheat bread for nutritional benefits
Alice Johnston Cranfield University Optimising UK landscapes for agroecosystem resilience
Rhys Jones Aberystwyth University Combining molecular biology and computer modelling to enhance control of liver fluke in livestock across agricultural landscapes
Guy Kirk Cranfield University Carbon sequestration in agricultural soils through silicate weathering
Tassos Koidis Queen’s University Belfast Multi-Functional Fibres as Biobased Food Binders, Selectively Modified Using Green Technologies and Enzymes
Ilias Kyriazakis Queen’s University Belfast Use of novel AI tools to assess the interconnections between genotype, phenotype and management on health and welfare outcomes in beef cattle
Susan Lanham-New University of Surrey Determining the importance of iron nutrition in optimizing immune health in particular ethnic groups
Ronan McCarthy Brunel University Improving livestock resilience by understanding the role of the microbiome in viral infection progression and antibiotic resistance
Angel Medina Vaya Cranfield University Development of effective rapid detection techniques to assess Fusarium spp. and T-2 and HT-2 mycotoxin level throughout the UK oats food chain
Lisa Methven University of Reading WheyBetter: A fundamental approach to redesigning whey protein isolates to step change their oral performance, leading to protein fortified products that will enable muscle mass maintenance over lifecourse
Paul Miller Queen’s University Belfast Animal Behaviour informatics: The automated detection of health and welfare problems in pigs through changes in their behaviour.
Mark Mooney Queen’s University Belfast Multi-omics approach to predict economically important health and production traits in sheep
Eric Morgan Queen’s University Belfast Healthy hen or happy hen? Disease-welfare trade-offs in extensive poultry systems
Russell Morphew Aberystwyth University Is it a Fluke or is it Reproducible: Understanding Isolate Variation in Fasciola hepatica for Diagnostic Potential
Simon Potts University of Reading Integrating trees into arable systems to improve soil health & provide resilience to climate change
Denise Robertson University of Surrey Filling the fibre gap: functional and metabolic potential of high amylose wheat
Mark Robinson Queen’s University Belfast Helminth extracellular vesicles – the key to reducing methane emissions from farmed livestock?
Ruben Sakrabani Cranfield University Evaluating efficacy of organo-mineral fertilisers to improve soil health and grain quality
Tom Sizmur University of Reading Anaerobic fermentation of food waste to connect fork to farm and store carbon in soils
Katerina Theodoridou Queen’s University Belfast Food for Feed: Valorisation of agro industry by- products in animal feed
Nandini Vasudevan University of Reading Development of a novel platform for targeting animal parasites
Dave Whitworth Aberystwyth University Engineering myxobacterial super-predators to fight crop disease
Anisha Wijeyesekera University of Reading Precision Nutrition for Gut Health: Development of a novel seaweed-containing, gut microbiota targeted nutraceutical
Ruth Wonfor Aberystwyth University Rethinking Cultured Meat (CM) Growth Medium: Can Grassland Plant-Derived Supplements Sustainably Support CM Production?
Jayne Woodside Queen’s University Belfast Fruit and vegetables within the current food production system and health


As a FoodBioSystems postgraduate researcher you will undertake training that will lead towards a PhD and equip you with extra skills and knowledge to support your future career. Your research project will be co-supervised across two institutes within our academic partnership and you will take part in training to gain a core understanding of food systems, data analysis and modelling. You will also follow a programme of subject specific learning, depending on your own needs. In addition, all DTP students carry out a professional internship (not generally related to the research project).

Funding eligibility

The studentships are predominantly open to students with established UK residency. Although international students (including EU countries) can apply, due to funding rules no more than 30% of the projects can be allocated to international students. The funding will include a tax free stipend and support for tuition fees at the standard UK rate (in 2021/2022 this is a minimum of £15,609 per year and £4500 per year respectively). There will also be a contribution towards research and training costs.

Funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is only available to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria set out in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) harmonized training terms and conditions which you can find here.

How to apply

To find out more about us, and details of the projects we are offering this year and our training programme, please visit For enquiries about individual projects please contact the project leads.

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