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PhD Studentship - Food Insecurity, Risk and Resilience in Low Income Households

University of Birmingham - Institute of Applied Health Research

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Full payment of tuition fees at UK Research Councils UK/EU fee level (£4,320 in 2019/20), to be paid by the University
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th February 2019
Closes: 31st March 2019

This PhD project is one of 23 projects advertised as part of the Global Challenges Scholarship Scheme.


Food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to sufficient affordable and nutritious food. It affects 41% of families worldwide and leads to negative health and psychosocial outcomes in children and adults. In response to this problem, the UN has set a Sustainable Development target by 2030 to end hunger and ensure all children have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

Food insecurity is much more than just a consequence of poverty. The relationship between food insecurity and the interplay between individual, household, social and community networks is complex. This PhD will assess the role of these interconnected factors and food insecurity via a comparative analysis of Pune, a city based in India, and Birmingham (UK). This PhD will be supported by a newly-established learning partnership between Birmingham and Pune, detailed below. The PhD will combine theories from the literature on communities, social networks, adaptation and resilience enabling the student to develop a framework of both risk and resilience that will underpin an analysis of food insecurity. The analysis will inform policy development intended to reduce the impacts of food insecurity that is relevant to both high-income and lower-middle-income country contexts.

Aim: To develop an integrated comparative approach to understanding food insecurity focusing on individual, family and community adaptation strategies that reduce risk and enhance resilience.

Candidate specification:


  • Undergraduate degree in medical sciences, human geography, economics or relevant social science subject.
  • Ability and experience with collaborating in teams.
  • Ability and experience in prioritising activities and tasks to accomplish goals within the set deadlines.
  • Excellent written, verbal and presentation skills for both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including clear and concise verbal communication.
  • Eligibility to work in the UK


  • MSc/MRes (at Merit or Distinction level) in economics, medical sciences, human geography or relevant social sciences subject.
  • A strong background/interest in the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Personal attributes:

  • An ability to work independently and with initiative and a high level of self-motivation.
  • Ability to prioritise tasks to achieve project goals and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to problem-solve, innovate or adapt.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.


Full payment of tuition fees at UK Research Councils UK/EU fee level (£4,320 in 2019/20), to be paid by the University;

An annual tax-free doctoral stipend at UK Research Councils UK/EU rates (£14,999 for 2019/20), to be paid in monthly instalments to the Global Challenges scholar by the University;

The tenure of the award can be for up to 3.5 years (42 months).

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