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Role of Technology in Developing Resilient and Sustainable Agri-food Supply Chains

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2021
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Population from developed nations are generally aware of nutritional food consumption requirements to lead a healthy life and they will appreciate the need for sustainable practices. While food quality, food safety and food security are highly encouraged in the UK food businesses, governmental policies and local councils are supporting the society to have healthy living through educational programmes in community centres and in public arena such as town/city centres. Social media is taking a huge role in disseminating this information to a wider society.

Thus, demand for Agri-food, especially perishable fruits, vegetables and fresh meat, are rising in the UK. Although UK is not self-sufficient in terms of production, it is tackling imports and exports very effectively to meet need of the UK population. However, UK’s governmental uncertainty on BREXIT may bring insecurity in supply of fresh food and may affect the imports from European countries. This will lead the UK to be reliant on other nations for fresh food supply, which will indirectly challenge the food quality, security and address the food traceability issues. As a researcher, we will have to find a feasible and sustainable food network without compromising the quality of food.

In your research project, you can explore how can food sectors, with support of smart technology, such as IoT sensors, Block chain, Precision farming and Big data analysis -

  • help sustainable and green food flow locally and globally
  • empower the food sector with traceability
  • help building social and economic status of the local community
  • help building necessary infrastructure and capacity
  • create resilience in the global food supply chains

This research can be country specific or region specific. Researchers are encouraged to write a detail proposal with research questions, objectives, methodology and potential contributions.


Scholten, K., Sharkey Scott, P. and Fynes, B. (2019), "Building routines for non-routine events: supply chain resilience learning mechanisms and their antecedents", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 430-442.

Porter, M. E. and Heppelmann, J. E., (2014). “How smart, connected products are transforming competition”. Harvard Business Review.

Stone, J. and Rahimifard, S. (2018), “Resilience in Agri-food supply chains: a critical analysis of the literature and synthesis of a novel framework”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, SCM-06-2017-0201, Vol. 23No. 3, pp. 207-238.


Professor Usha Ramanathan

Entry qualifications

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

For more information about our PhD programme, and how to apply, please visit research degrees in business.

Please email the university's Doctoral School for an application pack.

For informal enquiries about this project, please email Linzhi Tan.

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding for PhD projects.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Usha Ramanathan