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UK Food Systems Centre for Doctoral Training

The UK Food Systems - Centre for Doctoral Training (UKFS-CDT) is part of the UK’s  strategic programme on Transforming the UK Food System. The UKFS-CDT brings together the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich (lead), University College LondonRoyal Veterinary CollegeInstitute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth UniversityCentre for Food Policy at City UniversityUniversity of Sussex, and Brunel University London; and two leading agricultural research institutes, NIAB EMR and Rothamsted Research, plus over 50 partners from business, government and civil society. Brunel University London has substantial research expertise covering all areas of Food Systems Research.

Fully-funded studentships

Our funded studentships become available at different times of the year. Please keep checking our page regularly to see the latest funded opportunities. We also advertise all our funded studentships as soon as they become available on the @BrunelResearch twitter account.

View all studentships


Doctoral research will be interdisciplinary, combining natural science and social science approaches and methods. All PhD 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)

There are over 350 potential supervisors to support interdisciplinary food systems training in collaboration with the UK Food Systems Academya platform for collaboration, bringing together our doctoral researchers, academic supervisors, and over 50 partners from across government, business and civil society.  

PhD Studentships

The Centre will fund and train over 65 doctoral researchers from 2021-2027 (first cohort starts September 2021) creating future food systems leaders and innovators who can lead the UK towards a resilient, healthy and inclusive food future

Recruitment for this programme is now open for Sept 2023 entry !

Who can apply for The UK Food Systems - Centre for Doctoral Training?

  • From 21/22 onwards, studentships supported by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation are open to Home, EU and International students.
  • Students must reside in the UK during their studies to receive United Kingdom Research and Innovation funding
  • The studentships are highly competitive with two stages of selection: first selection at Brunel and then the second stage at the Doctoral Training Partnership level
  • Applicants are normally expected to hold a Masters degree and a minimum IELTS 7 for international students

What will you receive if you’re successful?


Full fees at the current home rate for the length of the studentship, irrespective of your fee status. Brunel University London has waived the difference between Home and International fee level so that International students will not be charged the difference.


 A stipend including London Weighting: £19668 per year as at 22/23 academic year

How to apply?


UKFS-CDT call for applications is now live. Before submitting your application please read carefully the application guidelines here, on the website, to follow these instructions of how to apply. Before completing the application forms, please carefully read the eligibility criteria and the information below.

Applications to the UKFS-CDT programme is a 3-part process. Firstly, you need to complete a UKFS-CDT application form, secondly, upload it to the Greenwich online application form. The UKFS-CDT application form will then be assessed, at which point some candidates will be invited for interview whilst others will be declined. Thirdly, the shortlist of applicants will be invited to interview before the final offers are made to successful candidates.

Part 1: Downloadable Word application forms

A: UKFS-CDT Application Form

This UKFS-CDT application form aims to collect information which will be assessed by trained academics, to judge your suitability to be shortlisted for an interview of this UKFS-CDT programme. This judgment will be based solely on the information you provide within the UKFS-CDT form and all the information you provide within the UKFS-CDT form could be used to form this judgment (unless otherwise stated within the application form).
All applications will be assessed with all reference to personal details removed. Please ensure you do not include any of the following information in your application: name, age, religion, gender identity (including pronouns), sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital/civil partnership status, disability/ies, religion, pregnancy and maternity, race/ethnicity, caring responsibility etc.
Please provide details on all sections: 

      • UK Food Systems Focal Research Interest
      • Statement of motivation
      • Indication of preference for an institution
      • Education
      • Professional qualifications, if applicable
      • Research experience
      • Workplace experience
      • English Language requirement (only for 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” )

If you have completed your education (part or all of previous education) in a country which is not part of the UK, please add your grades into the ‘UKFS-CDT – APP Form 2022’, including the country/ies of study. These grades will be converted to the UK equivalent internally.

B: Equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI) Monitoring Form

This voluntary EDI form aims to collect information which will not be used to assess your application. This information will be used exclusively to ensure the UKFS-CDT advertising, shortlisting and recruitment of students whilst maintaining equality, diversity and inclusion. UKFS-CDT highly values equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI), and is built into all process during student recruitment. We welcome applications from a diverse range of candidates regardless of age, disability, race/ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.

C: Referee Form

In this form, please provide details of two referees. Ideally one of the two should be an academic referee.

Part 2: University of Greenwich online application form

Please register an account on the University of Greenwich Online Admissions Portal.

The University of Greenwich on-line application is the mechanism for candidates to select the course they wish to apply to, as well as upload the UKFS-CDT application form, as well as other documents.

Please complete sections:

        • Name
        • Permanent Address
        • Mailing Address
        • Statistical Information
        • Programme Information
          • Month/Year of Entry: '9/2023'
          • Programme of Study: Please select 'Associate Postgraduate Research – Food Systems PGR Pathway to Level 8' from the drop-down menu
          • Mode/Point of Entry: Please select 'Full Time/Year 1'

Important note: If another Programme of Study has been selected, your application may not be considered for the UKFS-CDT programme.

Do not complete the following sections below

          • Employment
          • Referee details
          • Qualifications
          • Previous / Current Education

Please leave these sections empty AND select 'Continue' to advance on the University of Greenwich online admissions portal. Information for these sections should be entered in the downloadable Part 1: UKFS-CDT application form as one of the required documents of the University of Greenwich online application.

Please ensure you have uploaded the required documents to the 'Qualifications' Section, 'Attach transcripts' link:

Press "Choose file", "Upload", and "Refresh list of files" to see the files that you have attached to your applications.

        • Part 1a: UKFS-CDT application form, downloaded and completed 
        • Part 1b: Referee Form
        • Academic transcript(s)
        • Curriculum vitae

Note: Applicants to the UKFS-CDT do not need to submit a research proposal as part of the application.

Before you sign and submit the University of Greenwich online application, please double-check your online application, upload your completed UKFS-CDT application form, and upload other relevant supporting documents.

*ATTENTION* Once you press "Application is Complete", your full application will be submitted. You will not be able to change your application or upload additional documents. If you have submitted by error, please inform our programme manager. Unfortunately, you will have to login and create a new application on the University of Greenwich online admissions portal.

University of Greenwich Students Applicant Privacy Notice can be downloaded here.

All applications will be reviewed and scored by UKFS-CDT academics from social and natural science disciplines across the consortium. Our shortlisting period will begin on the 15th of February, 2022. Please note that late applications will not be considered. 

Candidates will be contacted in April with an update on their application. If you are invited to interview, two dates will be available in April. The exact interview dates will be confirmed.

At least two referees of shortlisted candidates will be contacted by UKFS-CDT to submit information outlined in a reference form (downloadable here).

Part 3: Interviews

Interviews will be with a panel of three UKFS-CDT academics. More details regarding the interview process will be provided to candidates who are selected for interview. Traditionally our interviews are held face-to-face, however, video conference interviews are always available where the cost or time required for travel is prohibitive. Due to the current global situation, it is likely that only video conference interviews will be possible for this recruitment cycle. More information about this will be available in the new year and communicated to candidates after shortlisting. UKFS-CDT studentship offers are made shortly after interviews.

The UKFS CDT programme managers can assist with questions about applying to the doctoral programme. They are not on the recruitment panels. If you have any further questions regarding the recruitment process please contact the programme manager. Here are some useful guidance and resources on how to prepare for a PhD candidate interview.

For further information on the programmes please contact: