A cross-disciplinary PhD programme from Crop to Clinic A cross-disciplinary PhD programme from Crop to Clinic

Wellcome Trust funded four-year PhD programme in science

EDESIA: The Roman goddess of food and feasting who emphasises the good things we get from our diets

The Edesia PhD programme is funded by Wellcome Trust to advance major aspects of plant-based nutrition and health, from crop to clinic, drawing on the world-class, interdisciplinary research expertise of the Norwich Research Park. The EDESIA: Plants, Food and Health doctoral training programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees.  


The deadline for these studentships has now passed. 

A number of funded and self-funded PhD projects are offered throughout the academic year.  Further projects will be advertised in due course. 

We welcome applications from students with their own funding all year - please enquire for further information.

Key Features

  • Starting in October 2020, students on this novel four-year PhD programme will complete 3 rotations across EDESIA partner institutions on the Norwich Research Park: UEA, the John Innes Centre, the Quadram Institute and the Earlham Institute
  • Students will develop their substantive PhD proposal at the end of Year 1
  • Up to 5 studentships will be available per year, funding a generous maintenance stipend, tuition fees, and a research and training support grant. In addition, graduates will have access to funding to support the transition to the next stage of their career following the submission of the PhD thesis.
  • The programme is open to candidates of all nationalities, with up to 2 spaces available at international-fee level.

How to Apply

Make an enquiry

Plants, Food and Health

Nutrition and the reduction in risk of ill health is centre stage globally and food represents one of the greatest health and environmental challenges of the 21st century.  The recent EAT-Lancet commission report stressed the urgent need to focus on high plant food diets, calculating that the adoption of such a diet would prevent 11 million deaths per year.

Through a four-year, rotation-based PhD, EDESIA students will have the opportunity to train in a wide range of disciplines across the translational pathway of nutrition research, ranging from plant science and the mechanistic understanding of nutrition, to clinical trials, population-based studies and public health. The programme is led by Director, Professor Ian Clark (UEA School of Biological Sciences) and Co-Director, Professor Cathie Martin, FRS (John Innes Centre).

From crop to clinic:

Outline of the Edesia: Plants, Food and health programme

This cross-disciplinary programme is open to candidates with an undergraduate degree in any scientific subject of relevance to the scope of the programme. We wish to build a diverse and inclusive student cohort and are looking for candidates who will make a strong contribution to the EDESIA community of researchers. We highly value curiosity, ability, independence, and the commitment to work across disciplines to deliver high-impact research.


EDESIA: Plants, Food and Health expects to offer 5 studentships to successful candidates for entry in October 2020.  Studentships include support for:

  • A generous maintenance stipend, provided over four years, and funded according to the Wellcome stipend scale
  • Tuition fees at Home/EU level - in addition, EDESIA will award up to 2 full studentships a year covering international fees for successful international candidates
  • Research expenses for rotation and PhD project costs
  • Funding for travel, including international collaborations and conferences
  • Funding to support career transitions following the submission of the PhD thesis, within or beyond academia.


EDESIA students will be supported by a diverse community of supervisors, international collaborators and professional services. Each student will be assigned an experienced academic mentor to support training and progression in the first year. After a four-week induction, students will complete three, 10-week rotation projects across partner institutions, ahead of developing their substantive PhD project.

An EDESIA seminar series, a regular journal club and a biennial EDESIA conference will ensure that students on the programme integrate as a cohort. They will also join students on other bioscience and health doctoral training programmes for skills development training activities. Each student will benefit from a tailored personal and professional development plan, adapted to their individual background, training needs, and career aspirations.

EDESIA students will also be encouraged to undertake activities contributing to widening participation and public outreach, enabling the next generation of STEMM professionals, and raising the awareness of EDESIA-based research.

The EDESIA programme will ensure that students make informed decisions about the next stage of their career and are prepared accordingly. Uniquely, students will have the chance to explore a diversity of career paths, and will access funding to support their professional development, within or beyond academia, after the submission of the PhD thesis.

The EDESIA management board is fully committed to equality and diversity. We will build on best practices across partner institutions to create a positive and inclusive research culture, including the Athena SWAN charter, and the UEA Codes of Practice to ensure equality for students and staff. UEA has co-sponsored the Courage project, a sector-leading initiative on Mental Health and wellbeing in research studies. The research and evidence generated by this project will play an instrumental role in shaping EDESIA policies and initiatives. We commit to being part of an evolving community of practitioners who will develop and share practice to bring science and culture together, placing both firmly at the heart of what we do.

Find out more

Please let us know a little bit about yourself and we will send you some relevant information about postgraduate research studentships at UEA: