Decarbonising diets: an investigation of UK net zero plant-based policy gaps


An exciting opportunity to apply for eight fully funded PhD positions in the Faculty of Environment and Technology, UWE Bristol.  

The expected start date of this studentship is 01 January 2023. 

The closing date for applications is 19 September 2022. 

Ref: 2223-JAN-FET11

Please note: out of the sixteen projects being advertised for the FET Studentship 2022, the faculty will fund eight. The projects for funding will be selected based on the merit of applicants following the process outlined below.


Studentship details

Plant-based diets (PBDs) are one of the clearest solutions to reach Net Zero in the UK according to organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, the UK Climate Change Committee and the UK Climate Assembly. The Government Food Strategy for England (published 13 June 2022) was intended to help create a food system capable of supporting Net Zero but has reportedly failed to include most of the evidence-based recommendations made by the independent advisory group. Meanwhile, among consumers, veganism is on the rise. The UK held the largest sub-market share in Europe for plant-based products, with sales growing by 40% from 2014 to 2019 (according to Mintel) and a forecasted growth 60% by 2025 (According to Deloitte). Both consumers and businesses seem to be responding to experts’ recommendations on moving to PBD. However, government policy strategy to support this change appears to be lacking.

This PhD studentship would be to investigate the gap between the scientific recommendations and policy strategy on PBDs, and to design a policy roadmap, using views of different stakeholders, policy makers, and publics, to promote a dietary shift towards PBDs to help the UK reach Net Zero by 2050.

Candidates should ideally have previously undertaken undergraduate or postgraduate research in this, or a closely related, area, and/or have experience of undertaking social research methodologies, e.g. interviews, surveys, focus groups.

The successful candidate will be a member of the Air Quality Management Resource Centre Air Quality Management Resource Centre (AQMRC)

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Jo Barnes

You can also contact Professor Jessica Lamond or Dr Stephen.Hall about the studentship programme.


The studentship is available from 01 January 2023 for a period of three and half years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £16,062 per annum. 

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years. 


Applicants should possess a minimum 2:1 in a related discipline. An MSc degree in a related discipline would be considered an advantage but it is not essential.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-FET11. 

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 19 September 2022.

Further Information

Interviews will take place in the week of the 10 October 2022. If you have not heard from us by 10 October we thank you for your application, but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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