PhD Program "Global Food Security 2015", Germany

Publish Date: Jul 01, 2015

Deadline: Jul 06, 2015

The Food Security Center (FSC) is a university center of excellence in development collaboration at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. FSC is one of five excellence centers within the program “exceed – Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation”, which is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany. The FSC’s mission is to make effective and innovative scientific contributions to research, teaching and policy advice in order to eradicate hunger and achieve food security in collaboration with partner research and education organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America and national and international development and research organizations. More information is available at

FSC invites outstanding university graduates, with M.Sc. degree and specialization in development-oriented agricultural sciences or related disciplines from both developing and developed countries, who are interested in an interdisciplinary and international post-graduate education in food security relevant issues.

Based on FSC’s conceptual framework, food security includes aspects of sustainable food availability, food access, food use (storage, processing, preparation), food safety (contamination, freshness, etc.), food quality (micronutrient content, dietary diversity, etc.), and food utilization (e.g. interaction of dietary and health factors). Given that achieving food security requires action at the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels, individual and household perspectives as well as local, national, regional and global perspectives are taken into consideration. In light of the special role women have in achieving food security, the FSC gives particular emphasis on gender issues. Moreover, comprehensive investigations of the ecological sustainability of agricultural production in the tropics and subtropics are mandatory, especially with regard to food and nutrition security of future generations. Given the multidimensionality of food security, an interdisciplinary approach utilizing expertise from agricultural, natural, economic, social, and political sciences are applied in the PhD program “Global Food Security”.

The structured PhD program “Global Food Security” is offered in English and is characterized by:

  • Competitive selection of doctoral students, using transparent criteria;
  • Supervision by experienced scientists from various academic fields ("multifaceted supervision" - in personal and interdisciplinary terms);
  • Continuous assessment of the doctorate studies by a supervisory team;
  • Doctoral courses with the objective of imparting methodological, professional and interdisciplinary competence and key qualifications;
  • Graduation within 3 years.

The PhD program “Global Food Security” is integrated into the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and collaborates with the Faculty of Natural Sciences, as well as with the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hohenheim. Hence, FSC also invites PhD candidates with backgrounds in natural sciences, economic or social sciences with interests in food security related research topics.

The approval of the application does not include a scholarship. Doctoral students are required to find financial support by themselves, via scholarship providers, such as German Exchange Service DAAD, foundations, and NGOs (also in students´ own countries), etc. Financial support for conducting field research will be partially available.

Objectives of the PhD program “Global Food Security”

The program aims to increase scientific knowledge and skills relevant to food security related issues using an interdisciplinary approach. Besides course work, the doctoral students will work with the research staff from the relevant institute at the University of Hohenheim. Together they will conduct a specific research project that contributes to FSC’s mission and is also relevant to the doctoral students’ research work, taking into account the individual interests and educational needs of each single doctoral student.

Target Group for the PhD program “Global Food Security”

The program aims to attract young scientists from all over the world, who are:

  • Outstandingly qualified university graduates with M.Sc. degree and a specialization in development-oriented agricultural sciences or related disciplines (incl. natural sciences and social sciences);
  • Interested in an interdisciplinary and international education in food security relevant issues;
  • Able to complete the doctorate within 3 years.

Structure of the PhD program “Global Food Security”

The curriculum of the program is composed of 3 modules (2 compulsory and 1 elective) to be completed by the PhD students within the first 18 months of the program, preferably before leaving for their field research. All three modules, with a workload of 140-180 hours each and 18 credit points in total, must be successfully completed during the doctoral program.

The first module (compulsory) is “Methods of Scientific Working”, dealing with:

  • Scientific and interdisciplinary competence;
  • Awareness of the wider scientific topics related environment;
  • Acquisition of basic tools for the PhD study and scientific career;
  • Coping with stress;
  • Excellent qualification and preparation for future challenges.

The second module (compulsory) is “Interdisciplinary Aspects of Food Security”, which belongs to the course “Global Food Security” and offered by FSC, deals with:

  • Introduction to food insecurity;
  • Impact of global challenges on food security;
  • Food availability, food access, food use, food quality, food safety, and food utilization;
  • Interlinkage of food security and gender equality, as well as sustainable agricultural production;
  • Relevant research methods and tools;
  • Interdisciplinary case studies on food policy.

The third module (elective) can be chosen according to doctoral students´ individual interests. The chosen module should be relevant to food security issues and be one of the MSc or PhD level modules from the regular course catalogue of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Hohenheim. The doctoral students’ supervisory team, in collaboration with the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences through it Doctoral Candidate Admissions Board (“Promotionsausschuss”), will decide which courses can be taken by the doctoral student and how many credit points will be awarded.

After successfully completing the modules, students will receive a transcript, corresponding to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), in which the modules completed and the grades obtained will be listed.

In addition to these three modules, the doctoral students are encouraged to attend interdisciplinary graduate or postgraduate short courses or summer schools related to food security issues, as well as short courses and soft skills workshops relevant for the students’ future careers. Additionally, doctoral students should actively attend national and international conferences.

As a general rule, the supervisory team comprises three university lecturers from multiple fields. The major supervisor should be from the University of Hohenheim and he/she will visit the PhD student during his/her field research and data collection.

Application and Admission requirements

Application is only possible through the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Hohenheim

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