Funded PhD studentship at ICSC! Local food systems and local economic democracy: a framework for delivering food security?

The ICSC is offering a fully funded DTA studentship, funded through the DTA3/COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship programme.

The PhD will be supervised by Dr Mags Adams and her colleagues (Prof Mark Dooris and Dr Ursula Pool) based in the Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change, at UCLan in Preston.

The research will take place in Preston, UK and in Patna, India where Prof Pushpendra Kumar Singh of the Centre for Development Practice and Research (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) will support the fieldwork.

The final deadline for applications is: Friday 12th APRIL 2019, 23.59 BST

(Application details below).

Local food systems and local economic democracy: a framework for delivering food security?

Local food systems describe integrated networks bringing together production, consumption, distribution, procurement and food waste management. These networks are not usually well described and often key anchor points and connections between organisations in the network are frail. Indeed, most urban food strategies make no attempts to define and delimit the local food system but rather describe the benefits it is intended to provide (Sonnino, 2014). In the global north local food systems include an array of geographically proximal organisations (Feagan, 2007) providing a range of innovative retail and production formats (Pearson et al., 2014). These include community food-growing initiatives, social supermarkets, food-banks, workers food co-ops, community food co-ops etc. In the global south (GS) they include women’s groups and cooperatives, small-scale farmers, urban and periurban markets, other agricultural producers, and forms of food aid akin to food-banks (Monjane & Tramel, 2018).

These networks have the potential to support development of food security, food sovereignty and food justice, and enhance the health, wellbeing, sustainability and resilience of local communities and economies, and may enable societies to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs), especially in relation to ending hunger and achieving food justice and food security (House of Commons, 2017). Currently, little is known about the mechanisms through which this may be achieved in both the GN and GS nor whether lessons learned in one apply in the other.

This PhD focuses on two cities – Preston (UK) and Patna (India). Both cities have complex socio-economic problems. Preston has suffered from austerity policies which have required innovative ideas for reshaping its economy to boost local jobs and services; this has seen the city improve on a range of economic indicators (Manley, 2018). Preston sits in an agricultural county, Lancashire, that closely mirrors the UK as a whole (Clutterbuck, 2017). Patna is one of the fastest growing cities in India and is a major agricultural hub in the state of Bihar; it suffers from problems associated with urbanisation including unemployment and poor public health. As cities in the GN and GS they make relevant comparator case studies.


Candidates are required to have an interest in interdisciplinary research on food, to have experience of qualitative methodologies and a flair for engaging with stakeholder organisations. Applications from candidates with a background in human geography, public health, social policy or cognate disciplines are welcome. The project will be based in Preston, UK and the successful candidate is required to relocate there. They will also be required to spend some time in India for fieldwork.

Please read the full details of the project and its research aims and methods at the University Alliance DTA3/COFUND website (PDF), here.

For further information and informal enquiries, please contact Dr. Mags Adams


The final deadline for applications is: Friday 12th APRIL 2019, 23.59 BST

To apply please submit your application via the Universities Alliance as they are administering the call:

Applications by email will not be accepted.

For more details of the DTA3/COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship programme and its conditions:

Eligibility criteria – please check here to see if you are eligible to apply this doctoral fellowship scheme before proceeding:

Please note. There are strict eligibility criteria related to obtaining a visa to work in the UK. If you are considering applying you must familiarise yourself with the visa criteria and determine if you are eligible to obtain one. Additionally you must not have lived in the UK for more than 12 months in the previous three years. EU citizens, UK nationals living abroad, and non-UK/EU citizens who can independently secure a visa to work in the UK are all eligible.



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