PhD Studentship: Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Tree Systems

Cranfield University

Start date: Cranfield Campus based students start date:   29/01/2024   

1st Supervisor: Professor Paul Burgess    

2nd Supervisor: Dr Georgios Pexas     

Type of opportunity

  • Fully-funded studentship – Opportunities which are fully funded (e.g. covers all fees and stipend)
  •  We are seeking an enthusiastic applicant for this fully-funded PhD scholarship (UK tuition fees, stipend and experimental costs) starting in January 2024. The successful applicant will advance the quantification of the economic, social, and environmental impact of alternative forms of tree planting in England including orchards, agroforestry and shelterbelts. This integrative research, involves practical field work and quantitative modelling and will inform the national decision makers on the role of alternative tree systems to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    To achieve net zero territorial greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the UK Government is encouraging new areas of tree planting.  In addition to traditional woodlands and forests, carbon can also be sequestered by alternative tree systems such as traditional orchards, silvoarable and silvopastoral agroforestry systems, shelterbelts, and Miyawaki forests.

    The aim of this three year PhD is to assess the economic, social, and environmental impact of different alternative forms of tree planting. The research will include field assessments of the effect of tree planting on biomass and soil carbon, and the development of life cycle assessments of different planting methods/settings relative to the baseline situation.

    The PhD will build on existing Cranfield expertise in agroforestry and life cycle assessments including recent studies for the Woodland Trust and Forest Research on the role of farmland trees to support net zero targets. Cranfield is also actively involved in two EU projects focused on agroforestry (AGROMIX and DigitAF).

    This is an exciting PhD that will provide the transferable skills required by a range of organisations that are supporting farmers, landowners, and businesses in their journey to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.   

    Entry requirements

    Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a discipline related to agricultural or forestry management, science and/or economics. This project would suit an enthusiastic conscientious individual who can effectively integrate information from a range of disciplines (social and natural science, management, economics) to create effective, practical, and economic solutions to help move UK agriculture towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions.   


    To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be classified as a home student. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK.

    How to apply

    For further information please contact:      
      Professor Paul Burgess     
     [email protected]

    If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form .

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