Revival of indigenous agroforestry systems (chakras) for crisis resilience in the Ecuadorian Amazon: opportunities and challenges of gender, ethnicity and forest livelihoods

Revival of indigenous agroforestry systems (chakras) for crisis resilience in the Ecuadorian Amazon: opportunities and challenges of gender, ethnicity and forest livelihoods

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements 

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021

For queries contact: Nina Moeller

GCRF PhD Studentships

This a GCRF fully-funded PhD studentship.

See the full list of available opportunities


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship within the multi-disciplinary Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience.

This project sets out to investigate an innovative multi-stakeholder initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Project Details

As one of the poorest and most biodiverse regions on Earth, the region is struggling to find solutions to the central dilemma of rural development: economic vs. ecological sustainability. In response, government officials, aid agencies, indigenous federations and the private sector have recently come together to revive, revalorise and reinvent the traditional indigenous agroforestry system – the ‘chakra’ – as a sustainable and economically viable production unit governed by women.

In a region ravaged by largely unfettered resource extraction (oil, timber, gold) and intensive agriculture, increasingly threatened by extreme weather, highly vulnerable to pandemics and historically marginalised due to its difficult terrain, the ‘chakra model’ responds directly to multiple crises and holds promises of prosperity and a resilient, just and culturally appropriate food system.

Using a mixed methods approach and building learning alliances with stakeholders, this project explores these promises, and inquires into opportunities and challenges of developing agroforestry value chains in the complex Upper Napo region. It evaluates the potential of scaling-out the chakra model for community resilience and food sovereignty, to create impact in other Amazonian and tropical forest countries.


This is a fully-funded studentship including full tuition fees (UK/EU/International) plus stipend (based upon the applicable UKRI rate at the point of the award) and additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
    PLUS the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component.
  • As fieldwork will take place in Ecuador, the candidate will need to be able to speak Spanish or be ready to acquire the ability before fieldwork begins (in year 2 of the PhD).
  • Our ideal candidate will be committed to a participatory research approach.

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Apply to Coventry University
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021