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PhD scholarships open to potential food sustainability researchers

27 October 2022 | News

Ten PhD scholarships that focus on moving towards a more sustainable future for the world’s food systems are available through the Food Transitions 2050 Joint Postgraduate School.

Applications are open now and work will begin in March 2023, with students undertaking three-year PhD theses that focus on specific topics relating to food sustainability.

The scholarships span a range of disciplines, including social and biophysical sciences. Study fees are covered and students receive $28,000 per year for the duration of the programme. Learn more and apply here by Friday 4 November. Please note that any positions not filled will remain open until a candidate is selected. 

Lincoln University is one of five Canterbury research organisations involved in the Food Transitions 2050 Joint Postgraduate School, which is a strategic partnership with AgResearch, Manaaki Whenua, Plant & Food Research and the University of Canterbury (UC).

Each PhD scholar will be based at either Lincoln or UC and will have a supervisory team of researchers from at least one university and a minimum of one Crown Research Institute.

Scholarship projects based at Lincoln University include the following.

Protection of NZ food resources through rapid biosecurity diagnostics of plant pathogens

This project involves working with researchers from Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research to explore mass spectral fingerprinting (MSF) as a new methodology for biosecurity diagnostics.

MSF technology offers the exciting potential to help inform early actions against invasive pathogens threatening important food plants. This is crucial, given New Zealand’s reliance on border biosecurity to prevent catastrophic plant diseases from impacting the food economy.

Feeding the ‘hidden hunger’ through increasing micronutrient density in wheat grain

This project involves working with researchers from Lincoln University, Manaaki Whenua and the University of Canterbury to develop new, sustainable strategies to biofortify Canterbury-grown wheat grain with essential micronutrients.

Deficiencies in essential micronutrients are driving an epidemic of ‘hidden hunger’ that is believed to affect as many as three billion people around the world. Canterbury wheat growers achieve excellent yields but low concentrations of micronutrients and biofortification is an effective way of overcoming this issue.

What role do spiders play in pest suppression for future food production systems?

This project involves working with researchers from Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research to uncover the diversity and role of different groups of spiders in orchard ecosystems. Spiders can protect crops by reducing pest invertebrates, but very few studies on spider biodiversity and their effects on crop systems have been performed in Aotearoa New Zealand.

An exploration of the role of sustainability labelling in consumer food transitions

This project involves working with researchers from Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research to understand how food product labelling and certifications enable consumers to make sustainable and healthy food choices.

There will be a specific focus on land use, water use, climate impact and collaboration with local iwi in conjunction with information on food composition and health benefits.

Agricultural urbanism and urban food sovereignty in peri-urban Aotearoa

This project involves working with researchers from Lincoln University’s School of Landscape Architecture and AgResearch to investigate the spatial disconnection between urban residents and food production landscapes in Aotearoa.

The project aims to develop land-use typologies and urban design models that integrate people and production to improve urban food sovereignty.

Learn about all the available PhD scholarships

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