The Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) PhD Project studentship

Deadline: 2 April 2013
Public investments, agricultural strategy and malnutrition in rural South Asia

The Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) has been established under a generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust to build an intersectoral and interdisciplinary platform for integrating research in agriculture and health, with a focus on international development goals.
Applications are invited for a LCIRAH doctoral studentship tenable at SOAS for 3 years starting in October 2013.  This studentship is run by the Centre for Development Environment and Policy (CeDEP) at SOAS.

Nature & scope of doctoral thesis

Despite strong economic growth, undernutrition prevalence continues to be alarmingly high in South Asia, with nearly half the region’s children classified as stunted. It is recognised that agriculture has a potentially critical role to play in future efforts to improve nutrition in the region. Strategic choices made by policymakers may be important in determining how effectively agriculture and other sectors can contribute to improved nutrition. For example, does agricultural investment in marginal and less-favoured areas yield better returns in terms of food security and nutrition outcomes than investment in favoured areas? What categories of government investment, particularly rural infrastructure investments (eg. roads, irrigation, cold-chains), yield the highest returns in terms of nutrition outcomes? Some research exists on the nexus between government expenditure and rural poverty outcomes (eg. Fan, Hazell and Thorat, 2009),but there is little information extending to nutrition outcomes.

This PhD research project will attempt to bridge this gap in knowledge by exploiting regional and temporal variation in government expenditures, nutrition outcomes and other variables in one of the countries in the region, and applying appropriate econometric methods to uncover key relationships. Collating and merging various pieces of secondary data (eg. district-level public expenditures, income and poverty, nutrition outcomes data, etc.) will be a key part of the project.

The lead supervisor will be Professor Bhavani Shankar, Centre for Development, Environment, and Policy (CeDEP), SOAS.  For more information on this topic, please contact Prof Shankar at

Value of the studentship

The studentship will cover fieldwork costs (10K for the duration of the studentship), student stipend at the Research Council UK Doctoral (London) rate (for 2012-13, this was £15,590), and UK/EU tuition fees.   Applicants paying fees at the overseas rate will be required to meet the additional cost of overseas fees.

Criteria and Requirements
  • Subject –This studentship is available for work on a doctoral thesis to be undertaken full time at SOAS.
  • Only new applicants may apply: those already enrolled on a research degree programme at SOAS are not eligible to apply.
  • Academic – Applicants must normally possess or be expected to possess a good UK Master’s degree (or a qualification deemed equivalent by the School) in a relevant discipline. This will be an inter-sectoral project, and we are looking for students with a good grounding in applied economics and relevant skills or interests in nutrition and/or agriculture, who would enjoy and be comfortable with learning and using skills across different sectors in a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral research group.
Candidate Assessment
  • Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by a Selection Panel consisting of three academic members.
  • The assessment of your application will be based on the information in your studentship application.  Selectors will be looking at the degree results and also at academic references, statement and other relevant information.
Studentship Application Deadline
  • The LCIRAH studentship application form must be received as soon as possible but no later than 2 April 2013.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered
  • Applicants must have also applied for admission as soon as possible but no later than the studentship application deadline (2 April) in order to be considered for this studentship. As the studentship is run through the Centre for Development, Environment, and Policy (CeDEP), which is based in the Department of Financial & Management  Studies, applicants must choose‘MPhil/PhD FINANCIAL AND MANAGEMENT STUDIES’ as the programme of study in their application for admission. The application for admission must be complete and references must have been submitted.
Notifications of Results

Successful candidates will be notified by e-mail regarding the outcome of their studentship application by the end of June. If you have not heard from us by the end of June, you should assume that your studentship application was unsuccessful.

Studentship Application Procedures

The LCIRAH studentship application form and further information about the project is available for download from the download box at the top right or can be obtained from:

Scholarships Officer
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
United Kindgom

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7074 5094/5091

More information on application can be found on the website of the organisation at


Posted on January 30, 2013, in Job Opportunities, Research grants, fellowship and scholarships, Youth and Agriculture. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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