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Professor Kelvin Balcombe, Professor, Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

I would be happy to supervise topics in any area of:

  • Stated Preference Studies of Non-Market Goods
  • Economic Bubbles and Volatility of Prices
  • Risk and Uncertainty.

Applications in the above areas within the Food and Agriculture sectors are encouraged but not required.



Dr Nick Bardsley, Associate Professor, Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

My research focuses on two areas. Firstly, I am researching the economics of energy and climate change, in particular mitigation, using ecological and behavioural economics. For example, a recent research project used experimental methods to study household energy use, aiming for insight into the 'rebound' phenomenon.

Secondly, I have been conducting experimental investigations of decision making, and have also addressed related methodological issues. For example, I have been looking at evidence contradicting received theories of economic behaviour and testing alternative theories, particularly ones positing 'social preferences' or 'collective rationality'. I have also been exploring social norms using behavioural games. The methodological work has concerned both the concepts involved in such enquiries and issues for the conduct and interpretation of experiments involving human subjects.

I would welcome inquiries from research students in my areas of interest.



Professor Richard Bennett, Research Dean, Vice Chancellor's Office

I welcome PhD applications from those interested in undertaking research related to economic and social science aspects of livestock production, animal health and disease control, and animal welfare.

I also welcome applications from those more broadly interested in factors affecting behaviour in relation to food choice, especially how moral considerations (such as those associated with animal welfare) influence choice.

My current research interests, where I would particularly encourage applications, include:

  • Moral influences on food choice - the case of animal welfare
  • Modelling of livestock disease, including zoonoses, and of disease control, incorporating economic dimensions, behavioural considerations etc
  • Economic and/or broader political economy studies of animal health and/or welfare policies
  • Exploring the links and interactions between animal health/welfare and important societal issues/global challenges
  • Valuation studies relating to animal health, welfare, food production/consumption (e.g. willingness to pay approaches)



Dr Yiorgos Gadanakis, Lecturer in Agricultural Business Management

I am willing to supervise graduate research topics in the area of Farm Management. I have considerable expertise in the design and execution of farm production efficiency and productivity research studies both in the UK and in low/middle-income countries.

Methodologically my research relies on econometric and linear programming (optimisation) methods (Data Envelopment Analysis, Stochastic Frontier Analysis, Mathematical programming and optimisation models).

An indicative list of topics of particular research interest include:

  • Sustainable intensification of farming systems
  • Management of natural resources (i.e. irrigation efficiency and soil management)
  • Agricultural financial management
  • Spatial differences and their impact on farm productivity and efficiency
  • Farm planning and control
  • Innovation in agriculture
  • Developing sustainable food value chains.



Dr Garth Holloway, Associate Professor, Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

I welcome PhD applications from prospective students interested in working with data in empirical settings including, but not restricted to:

Exchangeability, Representation, Inference and Prediction to problems in Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Anthropology, Biology, Botany, Climate Change, Conservation, Development, Ecology, Economics, Econometrics, Fisheries, Finance, Food Security, Futures, Game Theory, Household Production, Industrial Organization, Organics, Probability, Quantitative Methods, Risk and Uncertainty.

Current research surrounds the theoretical foundations for empirical models development and applications in diverse settings.

Former PhD supervision includes applications of formal probability structures to organic market development in Mexico; water rights evaluations in post-conflict Libya; land-rights determinations among transhumant Maasai; small-area poverty estimation in Latin America; household willingness-to-pay assessments for malarial loss abatement in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria; smallholder dairy farmer market immersion in Sri Lanka; and the removal of the Public Distribution System For Food Products in post-conflict Iraq.

Current PhD supervision includes evaluation of conservation tillage practices among subsistence Malawian agriculturalists and evaluation of the geographic hunting patterns of !Kung hunter-gatherers in Botswana.



Professor Julian Park, Head of the School, School of Agriculture Policy & Development

Recent and current PhD students have worked in the area of sustainable farming systems and technological innovation in agriculture. I welcome enquiries and applications from prospective PhD students who are interested in working on related issues.



Professor Elizabeth J Z Robinson, Professor of Environmental Economics, Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

I welcome PhD applications from applied economists interested in working at the interface of people and renewable natural resources, whether here in the UK or in a low/middle-income country. Methodologically my research relies on explicitly spatial and temporal models of resource extraction with an emphasis on forests and fish, on spatial optimal enforcement models, and combining anthropological and economic data collection approaches.

My current research interests, where I would particularly encourage applications, include:

  • The design of policies and institutions that protect both forest and marine-based livelihoods in low/middle-income countries, and the natural resource base
  • Designing and implementing REDD+ programmes, particularly at the community level, linking to literature on payments for ecosystem services
  • Understanding energy transitions out of woodfuels, and the implications for charcoal and charcoal-based livelihoods in the context of deforestation, forest degradation, and climate change
  • Spatial-temporal aspects of forest/woodland ecosystem services and forest/woodland management in the UK.



Dr Chittur Srinivasan, Associate Professor, Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

I would welcome PhD applications from applied/empirical economists in the following areas of my research interests:

  • Economics of intellectual property rights in agriculture - plant variety protection and patenting of biotechnology-based agricultural innovations
  • Conservation and international exchange of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in the context of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant
  • Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; farmers' rights issues
  • Diet, nutrition and health transitions in developed and developing countries
  • Exploration of agriculture and nutrition linkages through the dimensions of human energy expenditure, time-use and intra-household allocation of labour and consumption



Dr Giacomo Zanello, Lecturer in Food Economics and Health

My current research interests, where I would particularly encourage PhD applications, include:

  • Food, nutrition and health: I am involved in work that sits at the intersection of food, nutrition and health primarily in low- and middle-income contexts. This includes the analysis of energy expenditure patterns of rural households, investigation of economic drivers of over- and under-nutrition, food and nutrition policy evaluation, and the role of agriculture and food systems in enabling better nutrition and health
  • Innovation, technology, and industrialisation: I investigate the innovation rich environment of low-income countries aiming to understand the diffusion and impacts of tech- and no-tech innovations
  • Role of transaction costs in rural agricultural markets: I am interested in better capturing and quantifying the transaction costs that limit the size of agricultural markets in low-income countries
    I look forward to PhD applications from applied economists broadly interested in such topics and eager to develop robust empirical research aimed at strong policy implications.



Professor Richard Tranter, Professor of Rural Economy

I would welcome applications for graduate research in farmer attitudes and their decision-making behaviour, especially where this relates to changes as a result of policy developments.

I would also be interested in studies on the wider rural economy (e.g. forestry and diversification activities) as well as research on consumers' food choice behaviour particularly that concerning organic, animal welfare friendly and eco-label food production systems.