Organic Horticulture Research: 3yr PhD Studentship

Resilience and sustainability assessment of the organic greenhouse horticulture


Eligibility: UK/EU Students Only

Award Details: Tuition Fees + Bursary £13,863 per year (tax-free)

Duration: 3 years Fixed Term (January 2015 start)

Application deadline:  November 3rd 2014

Interview Date:  To be notified to shortlisted candidates

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship to carry out research in the area: "Resilience and sustainability assessment of the organic greenhouse horticulture".

The Project

This studentship is located within the newly-established and prestigious University Research Centre - the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience. (CAWR) at Coventry University.

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) is driving innovative, transdisciplinary research on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems internationally. Food and water security is increasingly threatened by factors such as climate and environmental change, loss of biodiversity, conflict and market volatility. New knowledge, policies and technologies are needed to develop systems that are more resilient to change and which ensure the health of our food and water supplies. Through its focus on food and water, the Centre’s research develops and integrates new knowledge in social, agroecological, and environmental processes, as well as the pivotal role that communities play in developing resilience

The research will work closely with the organic greenhouse industry in the UK (or other countries across Europe or near neighbouring regions). The assessment will include all three pillars of sustainability, economic, environmental and social as well as resilience criteria. It will develop a conceptual framework and specific tools to measure and improve sustainability in this particular industry. It will also focus on key sustainability issues of the industry like the production in soil-based substrates and the replacement of fossil fuels and peat as an ingredient of growing media. The research should include all business sizes in the industry, from small to large scale.

The applicant will be expected to work within the EU Cost Project Biogreenhouse (finishing at the end of 2016) and it is expected to travel to various countries within the project.

Successful applicants will have:

  • a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • A successful Masters degree in agriculture, horticulture, economics, geography, environmental science or similar discipline is required
  • A good understanding of agroecology, organic production methods and intensive horticultural production is desirable
  • Practical experience with organic or greenhouse production or a strong interest in this growing industry is also desirable.


Only UK/EU citizens may apply with the academic requirements as listed on:

Application Procedure: 

Applicants must complete an application form and covering letter, plus a 2000-word proposal addressing the research theme.

Each applicant must complete a Coventry University application form that can be downloaded from the following web page. Each applicant must also provide 2 references. Any applicant who fails to submit two completed references will not be considered for the studentship.

For an application form please click here.

Applicants will be shortlisted according to their qualifications, experience and suitability to the project. We will also consider the strength of the research proposal proposed (and literature review provided), the likely outputs from the project and the fit of that proposal with the themes of research within the Faculty Research Centre. 

It may be possible for students who are currently studying for a directly relevant MScR to apply. However, in such a case if a studentship was awarded it would be for two years to allow the student to convert and complete a PhD, dependent on their Progress Review Panel recommending that they could transfer to PhD at the end of the first year of their MScR. 

Complete the application form and return with a covering letter to:

Research Recruitment and Admissions team 
Student Centre 
Coventry University 
Priory Street 
CV1 5FB 
United Kingdom


Informal enquiries may be addressed to: 

Dr Ulrich Schmutz