Bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food

Category: Standard Studentships

Nutrition Smart Horticulture to grow more climate-resilient, profitable and nutritious crops

Project No. 2362


Primary Supervisor

Dr Eleftheria Stavridou – NIAB at East Malling


Guy Poppy – University of Southampton

Dr Jenny Baverstock – University of Southampton


The recent Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need to address undernutrition and malnutrition in the UK.

Micronutrient deficiencies are now widely recognised to be as important, if not more important than undernutrition. The National Food Strategy plan clearly outlines 4 goals for the UK food system including a recommendation on how innovative research is required to transform the UK food system.
The creation of new business models is essential and the nutrition agenda within the agriculture sector has yet to make a convincing case for farmers and agribusiness in how the food production and nutrition objectives align.

The studentship will focus on Nutrition Smart Horticulture which contributes to the improvement of the human nutritional status of the local population and increases farm and/or agribusiness-level productivity/revenue.

This project has four main steps to explore the feasibility and the benefits of Nutrition Smart Horticulture in the UK:

i) identification of the nutritional challenges in the UK which can be addressed through horticulture;
ii) development of methods to enable analysis of key nutrients and their consumption levels for a set of nutrients associated with the identified nutritional challenges (in i);
iii) identification of food groups in the horticulture industry for further investigation;
iv) identification of suitable Nutrition Smart Horticulture practices and technologies.
The student will carry out a case study with a crop and practice/technology identified in Steps 3 and 4, respectively to provide evidence of the impact that Nutrition Smart Horticulture can have on enhancing productivity and profitability; building crop resilience to climate change; improving food and nutrition security, and supporting the transition to net zero.

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with an interest in interdisciplinarity to undertake research of benefit to sustainably nourishing populations both today and in the future. Knowledge of the following areas would be desirable in: food / agriculture, plant biology, nutrition, public health, data science, systems thinking.