We are seeking an enthusiastic and conscientious applicant for this fully-funded PhD scholarship (UK tuition fees, stipend and experimental costs) starting on 30 September 2024, which will include field-work in Kenya. The successful applicant will advance the quantification of the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of tea production and identify management changes which can help to move tea production towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The PhD is sponsored by BBSRC and will run alongside a five year BBSRC Prosperity Partnership between LIPTON Teas and Infusions and Cranfield University.

Many supermarkets have targets to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for their supply chains by 2050. LIPTON Teas and Infusions is the largest buyer of tea in the World and also produces its own tea on estates in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Emissions associated with tea production (scope 1 and 3) contribute a significant proportion of the overall company carbon footprint and LIPTON Teas and Infusions is therefore seeking to reduce its GHG emissions (Lipton Teas and Infusions, 2024). Existing research suggests that about three quarters of the GHG emissions associated with tea production in Kenya are related to the production, transport and use of nitrogen fertilisers (Rigarlsford et al. 2020), and hence nitrogen fertilisers are a focus for this research.

The proposed aim of this PhD is to advance the quantification of the carbon and nitrogen dynamics of tea production and identify potential management changes to help move tea production towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions.  

The four-year PhD will run alongside a five year BBSRC sponsored Prosperity Partnership between Cranfield University and Lipton Teas and Infusions. The successful student will have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork on new experiments in Kenya including the use of portable gas analysis equipment for in situ measurements of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, and nitrous oxide emissions. 

The results of the research will be used to inform the improvements of models of tea carbon and nitrogen dynamics that are being used for precision management in Kenya (Giannitsopoulos et al. 2023), and provide guidance on how tea producers can drive their net level of greenhouse emissions towards zero.

The unique features of the PhD include the capacity to work alongside a team of researchers and field managers within the LIPTON-Cranfield prosperity partnership, with access to new experiments and greenhouse gas analysis and other equipment. The successful PhD candidate will have the opportunity to undertake extended periods of fieldwork in Kenya. The candidate will also benefit from being able to join the 2024 cohort of the BBSRC FoodBioSystems Doctoral Training Partnership involving Cranfield University and five other universities.

All Cranfield PhD students receive core training in project management, data management and security, statistics, academic writing and presentation skills. The successful candidate will also have the opportunity to access a wide range of MSc modules available at Cranfield such as, for example, “Soil Systems” and “Evaluating Sustainability”.  We anticipate that successful completion of this PhD will provide you with excellent career options related to food production and net zero in academia or industry.

At a glance

  • Application deadline26 Jun 2024
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date30 Sep 2024
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSWEE0255


1st Supervisor: Professor Paul Burgess 
2nd supervisor: Professor Wilfred Otten

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a discipline related to agriculture, plant science, biology, or ecology. An MSc or equivalent experience in these topics and experience in field-work, modelling and statistics is desirable. A willingness and capacity to work independently and as part of team on LIPTON Tea Estates in Kenya for prolonged fieldwork periods will be necessary.


This fully funded studentship sponsored by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and supported by Lipton Teas and Infusions will provide a bursary starting at £19,237 (tax free) plus UK tuition fees for four years.  The PhD will run alongside the BBSRC sponsored Prosperity Partnership between Cranfield University and Lipton Teas and Infusions (2023-2028).

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be classified as a home student. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK.

In accordance with UKRI guidelines, our studentships are offered on a part time basis in addition to full time registration. The minimum registration is 50% FT and the studentship end date will be extended to reflect the part-time registration.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:
Name: Professor Paul Burgess
Email: p.burgess@cranfield.ac.uk

For information about applications please contact: E: studyenvironment@cranfield.ac.uk

If you are eligible to apply for the PhD, please complete the online PhD application form stating the reference No. SWEE0255

Our Values
Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential.

Diversity and Inclusion
As an inclusive and diverse doctoral centre, we welcome applications from all highly motivated individuals, regardless of background, identity or disability.