UNIVERSITY OF KENT
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
KENT BUSINESS SCHOOL
Research Programme: MPhil/PhD Agri-Environmental Economics
1. Award and Title
MPhil/PhD: Agri-Environmental Economics
2. Length and Mode of Registration
PhD: A minimum of three consecutive years full-time, five years part-time. In
exceptional circumstances the period of registration could be reduced with the
approval of the Faculty Committee by not more than one year.
MPhil: A minimum of two years full-time, three years part-time.
3. Entry Requirements
The normal minimum entrance requirement for the registration for MPhil/PhD in Agri-
Environmental Economics is either
a/ First/upper second class honours in a relevant discipline of a UK university or an
equivalent standard obtained overseas extending over not less than 3 years in a
University (or educational institution of equivalent rank)
b/ A relevant Masters level degree in the UK University or an equivalent standard
An applicant for registration must produce satisfactory evidence of having attained a
standard equivalent to that demanded in a/ or b/ above.
Applications for admission to postgraduate research will be considered by the
School Director of Research and the potential supervisors. Where practicable an
interview will take place. The Director of Research will give careful consideration to
the suitability and qualifications of applicants and will be satisfied that appropriate
expertise for supervision and adequate resources for the proper conduct of the
research will be available.
Where the applicant’s first language is not English, evidence will be required of
proficiency in written and spoken English in line with the standards required by the
University at the time of admission and published in its prospectus. Where further
English language training is required, the Director of Research will ensure that
appropriate arrangements are made.
A candidate for a research degree in Agri-Environmental Economics will be
registered initially for MPhil degree. The Director of Research may give permission
for registration for the MPhil/PhD degree with exemption from part of the course of
study a person who has commenced a course of study for the MPhil or PhD
degree of another University in the UK, provided that the course of study in KBS is
not less than one calendar year or its equivalent in part-time study. In cases of
exceptionally qualified candidates the School’s Director of Research can recommend
a direct registration for PhD degree.
5. Anticipated Total Student Registrations
Up to 5 per annum. In most cases funding is externally generated by research
grants from the UK Research Councils’ disciplinary and multidisciplinary programmes
(e.g. rural economy and land use - RELU); UK public institutions (e.g. DEFRA,
FSA); the EU Framework research programmes; and industry funding bodies.
6. Programme Management
KBS is responsible for the programme. This responsibility will be managed under
the auspices of the School’s Director of Research, Professor John Mingers.
The Director of Research will ensure the appointment of supervisors for each
student. Due to the potential synergies and complementarities in research interests
with the Department of Economics, in some cases, the Director of Research could
advise on a joint supervision with a member of the Economics Department.
7. Proposed Start Date
2008/9 academic year
8. Evidence of Need and Demand for the Programme
The complex interaction of economic forces and environmental demands in urban
and rural areas across the globe is a rapidly expanding field of research. The
interest in agri-environmental economics cuts across agricultural and other types of
primary production, natural resource management, business issues, countryside
concerns, as well as policy and trade considerations. The University of Kent and
KBS are developing and promoting green research. KBS and its Centre for
European Agri-Environmental Studies (CEAS) are keen to contribute fully to this
development and utilise in full the academic expertise which was added to KBS with
the transfer of Applied Economics and Business Management, and CEAS, from
Imperial College to KBS.
Currently, KBS offers registration for graduate programmes by research in
Management, Industrial Relations, Management Science, Operations Research, and
Accounting and Finance. The School has adequate procedures for training and
supervision of research work of MPhil/PhD candidates. School’s MPhil/PhD students
take part in the training at the faculty level taking faculty research training modules.
They also have the option to take the modules available on the KBS Management
suite of programmes on the basis of an individual student needs and according to
advice from the supervisors and doctoral committee. Some students are taking
modules at the Department of Economics. The new MPhil/PhD programme is
cognate to the above mentioned departmental graduate programmes by research
and will be resourced from within the existing resources of KBS. Currently there are
at least 3 registered MPhil/PhD students (and funding is available for additional
students) who are researching in the area of agri-environmental economics. Also,
there are other registered students who feel that their research fits better within the
area of agri-environmental economics. However, they all had to register for the
programme in Management due to the lack of a more suitable option. This proposal
aims at filling this existing gap.
The MPhil/PhD programme in Agri-Environmental Economics will train students in
high quality scientific and research skills which will make upon successful
completion the individuals capable of assuming positions of responsibility in
academia, public administration, international organisations – specialised and general
- and industry. It may also provide a useful and attractive post-graduate
qualification for those young practitioners wishing to continue their professional
development and become prepared to deal with the complex agri-environmental
issues which face the policy-makers and industry.
9. Aims and Objectives
The general programme aims are identical with the aims of the existing MPhil/PhD
programmes in KBS:
To foster doctoral research of the highest quality, which complements the School’s
other research activities and reinforces its reputation for world-class excellence.
To develop graduates who are qualified for careers in top academic institutions
and in leading professional and managerial posts.
On successful completion of the MPhil programme, students have demonstrated:
a good grounding in relevant research methods and techniques;
the ability to critically analyse and evaluate their own findings and those of
others, in order to formulate research hypotheses;
a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current
issues and policies in the area of agri-environment;
the ability to conduct a research project in the field of agri-environmental
economics using appropriate research methods.
On successful completion of the PhD programme, students will also have
a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical developments in the area of
systematically acquired understanding of the substantial body of knowledge on
methodological tools which are at the forefront of development of agri-
the ability to conceptualise, design and conduct a research project to generate
new knowledge, application or understanding;
that they have contributed to the creation and/or interpretation of new knowledge
through original research or other advanced scholarly activity, of a quality to
satisfy peer review and merit publication in specialised journals.
Typically, successful PhD students will have demonstrated the skills and abilities
to make informed judgements on complex issues in the field of agri-
to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist
and non-specialist audiences;
to continue to undertake research and develop knowledge at an advanced level,
contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or
10. Programme Outline
(a) Details of the Research Training that the student will be expected to
All students will be given a full induction to the Business School, which will
ensure that they obtain the relevant training in health and safety, risk
assessment and other relevant matters.
Preparing research protocol.
Ethical issues, including principles governing requirements for obtaining
ethical committee approval, confidentiality if required and data protection.
Tutorials on computer software use if necessary.
Briefing on the use of the University library and online search and journal
Regular review of published evidence on the selected research topic and
discussion of these with the supervisors.
(b) Details of other courses students may benefit
Attendance on University of Kent courses, in particular
(a) courses run in the Business School;
(b) courses within the Faculty of Social Sciences which may be relevant,
e.g. Research Methods, and/or the Faculty Research Training
(c) MSc modules offered by the Department of Economics. Students who
will take such modules must satisfy the MSc entry requirements of the
Attendance at national or international meetings, relevant symposia and
Attendance on courses in writing skills or English language as appropriate.
Faculty of Social Science Transferable Skills Training.
(c) Details of progression milestones that the student will need to reach and
successfully pass (to include transfer from a lower qualification to a higher
qualification e.g. MPhil to PhD)
Preparation of acceptable research protocol.
Obtaining ethical committee approval if required.
Conducting pilot research and evaluating research procedures.
Primary or other data collection.
Preparation, analysis and presentation of research results at appropriate
Submission of completed thesis.
Successful defence of thesis.
(d) Details of the assessment method (e.g.: by thesis etc)
Regular review meetings with supervisors.
Structured annual review, including presentation of findings to date, an
informal but structured discussion with supervisors and advisor, submission
of University of Kent progress report form.
Submission of MPhil thesis (after 2 years) and/or PhD thesis (after 3 years)
to at least one internal and an external examiner.
Viva voce examination (optional for MPhil).
11. Approved Supervisors
Six approved Supervisory Chairs in KBS have scholarly interests either exclusively
in the area of Agri-Environmental Economics or in complementary fields. In
addition, there are six co-supervisors with expertise in agri-environmental modelling
and scholarly interests in complex issues such as the challenges to the agri-
environment stemming from climate change. The list of currently approved
supervisory Chairs and co-supervisors with research interests in Agri-Environmental
Economics within KBS is presented in Appendix 1. The list of approved
supervisors from the Economics Department is available from the Faculty of Social
Sciences. As the new MPhil/PhD programme is cognate to the existing Business
School graduate research programmes, according to the University Code of
Practice for Research Programmes, the Supervisory Chairs for the new programme
can be approved at the discretion of the Faculty Director of Graduate Studies.
12. Research Environment
The new MPhil/PhD degree will bring research students into a research-active
environment of a high standard. The research Centre for European Agri-
Environmental Studies at KBS has six core members all of them research active
and included in the 2008 RAE. Currently, they supervise research students at both
KBS and Imperial College. In addition, six more School academics work on the
complementary issues of corporate social, including environmental, sustainability;
food, consumer choice and nutrition. The members of CEAS are presented in
The CEAS members work both on the development of new methodologies for the
economic analysis of natural resource-based industries, and the application of such
methodologies to analyse specific research issues in these industries. This
analytically strong group of economists and policy analysts works primarily on the
economic development of the European Union and specifically on the role, impact
and performance of its agricultural and food industries. An additional component of
this research is the role of government policy in relation to the problems both of
environmental damage in the agricultural landscape and the positive externalities
associated with the production of food, fibers and energy.
The group also benefits from close working relationship with the private agricultural
and food industry consulting firm AgraCEAS which is part-owned by the University
of Kent and is based in Wye and Brussels. The private funding provided by the
part-ownership is used to mount an active Research Seminar Programme in Agri-
Environmental area, to organise symposia and workshops, and to support PhD
The group's research attracts high levels of financial support from the Joint
Research Council's RELU (Bailey, Fraser I), the food industry, the FSA and the
HGCA (Fraser I, Fearne, Garcia), the EU (Davidova, Fraser R, Bailey) and DEFRA
(Fraser R, Bailey, Davidova), generating high quality publications in leading
specialist journals such as the American J. Agricultural Economics, Ecological
Economics, Land Economics and the J Productivity Analysis. Much of this funded
research is both multi-disciplinary and multi-partnered.
The research achievements of this group are substantial, measured on both an
inputs and an outputs basis. External competitive research funding per academic
staff member is the highest in KBS, while the journal publications of many of the
staff have received considerable user-recognition. For example, R Fraser (JAE
2003) was the most down-loaded article of its volume for the entire 2004-2005
period, while I Fraser (AJARE 2003) won that journal's (annual) prize for the best
article in the volume. In addition, Bailey (Agricultural Economics 2004) was
selected from 250 competing papers for inclusion in its special issue of the
As a consequence of their research achievements, the external profile and policy
impact of this group has also been substantial. In particular, R Fraser has been
an Academic Advisor to the Food Standards Agency since 2001 and to DEFRA
since 2003 (including as a Member of its Science Advisory Council's
Epidemiological Diseases Sub-Committee in 2005-06). Most recently, he has been
appointed as a Consultant to the World Bank. In addition, R Fraser and I Fraser
were commissioned by the OECD in 2006 to prepare a report on “Informational
Asymmetries in Agri-environmental Policy”, while Davidova is a Member of the
EU's DG Agriculture Network of Agricultural Experts.
13. Student Support and Guidance
The MPhil/PhD in Agri-Environmental Economics will build on the School’s existing
research strengths to maintain and enhance the quality of its postgraduate
research programmes. It is envisaged that principal source of support and
guidance for students will be provided by their academic supervisors. As stated in
6, the School’s Director of Research will ensure the appointment of supervisors for
each student. MPhil/PhD students in Agri-Environmental Economics will use all the
facilities available to School’s students in the other research programmes, as well
as the University’s support services.
14. Departmental Quality Assurance and Enhancement
Progress of the student will be monitored by a formal review at the end of each
year. Interim reviews will be held half-yearly. Students and their supervisors are
normally expected to meet at least monthly, and more frequently at the start of
the research programme.
15. Departmental Resource Implications
With the transfer of the research Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies
from Imperial College to KBS specialised staff expertise is already in place.
Students are provided with supervision, access to computers, library and
appropriate research facilities to complete the planned programme of study and
research. Students will also benefit from both the School’s long-standing weekly
research seminars - one focused on agri-environmental economics and the other
on broader management issues – and the Research Seminar series in the
Supervisory time is allocated within the Department’s workload allocation model.
16. Professional Accreditation
Dr A Bailey
Dr S Davidova
Dr A Fearne
Dr I Fraser
Prof R Fraser
Dr D Petrovici
Dr S Di Falco
Dr M Garcia
Dr J Haddock-Fraser
Dr J O’Hanley
Dr J Sauer
Dr D Souza Monteiro
Academic staff – members of the Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies
Dr S Davidova – CEAS Director
Dr A Bailey
Dr S Di Falco
Dr I Fraser
Prof R Fraser
Dr J Sauer
KBS Academics with complementary scholarly interests
Dr A Fearne
Dr M Garcia
Dr J Haddock-Fraser
Dr J O’Hanley
Dr D Petrovici
Dr D Souza Monteiro