Navigating tensions in coproduction across agrifood system stakeholders in the AgriFood4NetZero Network +


An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Health, Science and Society, UWE Bristol. The studentship will be funded by UWE Bristol.

Ref 2223-APR-HAS01

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 April 2023

The closing date for applications is 30 October 2022.

Studentship details

The agri-food system produces almost one quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions and will, therefore, need to play a significant role in the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050. The AgriFood4NetZero Network+ is a new £5 million investment by UKRI to bring together new and existing partnerships across the sector to shape and co-produce a pathway to achieving net zero and sustainability, whilst benefitting livelihoods, biodiversity and ecosystems.  This is not without challenge.  The agri-food system comprises a large network of interested parties from manufacturing, retail, government, NGOs, and farming and fishery groups, and is shaped by a range of evolving social and economic drivers and characterised by unequal distribution of power across actors.  The pathway to net zero will require negotiation and the creation of strong relationships between all affected groups in the agri-food sector. Network outcomes include shaping the UKRI funding priorities for net zero research for the rest of the decade.

In order to create a network capable of delivering on net zero, a variety of communication and engagement methods will be used. From ‘Big tent’ meetings, site visits and challenge workshops to the Disruptive Innovation Board (DIB), pairing schemes, and digital dialogues; the network will prioritise co-production with stakeholders from across the agrifood system. There will be nine champions, appointed annually, who will hold responsibility for building communities of practices across different agrifood system themes. Each champion will organise a combination of 8 online and in-person activities each year, with some of these activities planned in coordination with other champion(s).

This PhD studentship will evaluate the process of co-production and engagement with and between different communities in the agrifood system, which represent a diverse group of interested parties with differing and/ or competing priorities. The PhD studentship will seek to address the challenge of how to engage and co-produce effectively, considering different drivers, objectives and power imbalances between stakeholders; specific research questions and the details of the research design will be developed by the PhD student. The student will work alongside the Network + Executive team, co-Is and Champions to carry out PhD research objectives. The student will need to have a good understanding of the challenges of meeting net zero targets across the agrifood system and/ or experience of evaluating communication and engagement strategies. Relevant skills in qualitative data collection and analysis, coproduction, place-based and / or other participatory action research methods will benefit the candidate; willingness to learn these skills is required.

Link to further information on AgriFood4NetZero Network+

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Angelina Sanderson Bellamy


The studentship is available from 1 April 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax-exempt stipend, which is currently £17,688 per annum.

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


Applicants must have an MSc in a relevant field and ideally will have a demonstrated interest in the topic and some prior research experience using qualitative methods.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-APR-HAS01

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your cover letter, explaining how you are qualified for the role and with some ideas of how you would propose to address the research challenge, all your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification is required.

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 30 October 2022

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on weeks commencing 28 November 2022. If you have not heard from us by December, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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