Food Sovereignty ‘From Above’?: Interrogating the ...

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Food Sovereignty ‘From Above’?: Interrogating the Impacts of Global Governance on Natural Resource Tenure in Nepal

Eligibility: UK/EU/International

Award Details: Tuition Fees + Bursary £14057.00

Duration: 3 years Fixed Term (Studentships are available to commence during academic year 15/16- start date will be specified to successful candidates)

Application deadline: 12th June 2015

The Project

Food sovereignty activists such as the global social movement La Vía Campesina have long sought to shape the direction of food and agricultural global governance. Recently these efforts have involved extended participation in policy arenas such as the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This PhD project will examine the ‘meaning’ of such participation, by conducting a country-level (Nepal) case study on the impacts of a recent CFS output: the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. This study aims to understand the roles and impacts of a global governance instrument on the ground (state and civil society). This project will be conducted collaboratively with International food rights NGO FIAN International, with input from their Nepal country office, and other food sovereignty activists in the country. It will seek to answer such questions as:

  • To what extent and in what ways have the Guidelines articulated with national level policy-making in land/fisheries/forestry tenure in Nepal? 
  • To what extent and in what ways have Nepalese civil society utilized the Guidelines in their local struggles? 
  • What factors have promoted or inhibited engagement by civil society and state actors with the Guidelines?

About the Centre/Department

CAWR is driving innovative, transdisciplinary research on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems internationally. The Centre’s research develops and integrates new knowledge in social, agroecological, hydrological and environmental processes, as well as the pivotal role that communities play in developing resilience. Unique to this Centre is the incorporation of citizen-generated knowledge - the participation of farmers, water users and other citizens in transdisciplinary research, using holistic approaches which cross many disciplinary boundaries. CAWR also aims to advance resilience science through creative work on the governance of food systems, hydrological change, urban water, river processes, water quality and emerging pollutants.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have: 

  • 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. 
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%). 


  • a taught Masters degree, or Masters by Research, in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark. 


  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study. 
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).
  • Knowledge of and interest in social movements/global governance/food politics. 
  • Experience in collaborative research/working.
  • Knowledge of and interest in food sovereignty.

Eligibility & Application Procedure

Application Procedure:

Application form, CV and cover letter only. 

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Note: A research proposal may not be required unless explicitly stated in this PhD advertisement


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found here.