Studentship opportunity

Connecting communities: transformative impacts of community garden networks

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

University of Glasgow
Accounting, Finance, Business and Management (AFBM)
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
15th March 2019

Project details

A wealth of research highlights the benefit of community gardens to urban health and well-being (Draper and Freedmanm 2010), social inclusion (Crossan et al., 2016), and food security (Garett and Leeds, 2015). Urban populations continue to experience multiple deprivation that is linked to spatial vulnerability and limited access to green space. The prevalence of derelict land (SMID, 2016), privatisation of public space (Smith, 2018), and the prioritisation of property-based regeneration (Shaw et al., 2018) that are common characteristics of deprived communities all serve to intensify spatial inequality.

We aim to examine transformative impacts of community garden networks and conceptualise mechanisms through which community-led gardens can empower communities to transform local food economies. In doing so, this research addresses calls for research on spatial vulnerability (Saatcioglu and Corus, 2016) that acknowledges the ways that consumer disadvantage can intensify due to geographical location. This resonates with our context and collaboration partner, Baltic Street Adventure Playground (BSAP), a third sector organisation that facilitates access to community green space in Dalmarnock – a community which belongs to 5% of the most deprived areas of Glasgow (SIMD, 2016).

Existing research identifies the positive outcomes of community gardens at the individual and community level. Limited research has examined the transformative impacts of these spaces to facilitate network building and social interaction across diverse groups within more deprived neighbourhoods.  This research examines how multiple growing spaces can connect to create transformative networks of food provision for spatially vulnerable communities. It develops a network approach to engage with key third sector organisations, community groups and consumers to generate critical insights into the transformative potential of community garden networks. This research will work towards building impact for communities by developing insights to support the practical development of community governed growing spaces, which may help tackle food inequality for low-income communities.

About the institution

The studentship will be embedded within the Management subject group of the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. Our postgraduate research training programme combines robust taught research training and applied research practice within a flexible timeframe of three to five years. Beginning with foundation training in research methods, you will follow advanced training pathways in qualitative and quantitative methodologies and benefit from extensive training in research skills. As a postgraduate, you will form the bedrock of our research community, and we will actively encourage you to publish your research and participate in research seminars, training retreats, workshops, conferences and presentations.


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: For 1+3 • A 2:1 degree or equivalent preferably with a business and management component • Demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of community empowerment and food/environmental sustainability debates • Have a good grounding in community empowerment and food/sustainability issues For +3 • A master’s good degree preferably with a business and management component • Demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of community empowerment and food/environmental sustainability debates • Have a good grounding in community empowerment and food/sustainability issues.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process. The programme will commence in October 2019. It includes • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2018/19 rate £14,777 full-time) • fees at the standard Home rate • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

How to apply

1. Applicants must register their interest by completing the ESRC Eligibility Checker:
2. Applicants should then register on Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences GradHub and fill out equal opportunity data (this is a requirement of the application process and equal opportunity data is used for monitoring purposes only, and not in the decision making process, completing and uploading the following documents on to GradHub, completing and uploading the following documents on to GradHub:

• Application form
• Academic transcripts
• References
• CV
• A short statement (max 1,000 words) explaining how you fit with, and can add to, the research project.

The statement should be uploaded as a standalone document with the file named as follows *your name_CumbersGlasgowCollaborative_date*

Applications should be submitted GradHub

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 05th April 2019. Interviews dates are to be confirmed. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within the University of Glasgow. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Professor Andrew Cumbers