Funded PhD Studentship: How does agricultural crime affect the psychological health of farmers: a longitudinal exploration of the impact of victimisation on UK farmers.

Harper Adams
May 17, 2024
Offerd Salary:£19,237
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Contract Type:Fixed Term
Working Time:Full time
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Funded PhD Studentship: How does agricultural crime affect the psychological

health of farmers: a longitudinal exploration of the impact of victimisation on UK farmers.

Agriculture & Environment Location: Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB

Salary: As per advert Post Type: Full Time Contract Type: Fixed Term - 36 Months Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Friday 17 May 2024 Reference: RD-PHD-24-KS-R1-MH

Director of Studies: Dr Kreseda Smith

Start Date: 1st October 2024

Project Title: How does agricultural crime affect the psychological health of farmers: a longitudinal exploration of the impact of victimisation on UK farmers.

Project Description:

Agricultural crime is a fact of life for British farmers. While no official figures exist for this type of crime, key rural stakeholders such as NFU Mutual publish regular indicators of the level of the problem. However, these figures, and much of the extant academic research focus almost exclusively on the financial impact of agricultural crime to the exclusion of the impact it has on farmer mental health. Farmers in Britain face a range of stressors – events that negatively affect wellbeing – that impact on their ability to manage their business successfully. Extant research has identified stressors such as weather, finance, regulation, staffing and time pressures1,2. However, to date, little research has examined how agricultural crime impacts the mental health of farmers beyond the work conducted by the DoS3,4.

This project will extend that research by providing an in-depth, longitudinal exploration of the lived experiences of farmers who have been victims of crime. The way that crime-related stress interacts with other farmer stressors requires more exploration to understand the impact it has on farmers, and what factors create a heightened stress response either alone or in conjunction with other stressors. With the impact of Brexit still being understood in relation to the UK's food security, it is essential that the farming community are better supported to ensure they are able to manage their own mental health, and keep their own ontological security in balance. Decisions made under stress are often ineffective, and so the understanding and management of farmer mental health is essential to ensure farmer resilience.

Applicants must hold a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject /high grade point average bachelor's degree for international applicants or a 2.2 alongside a suitable Master's Degree. Potential for research based on alternative qualifications/experience as judged acceptable by the university, will be considered on a case by case basis.

Successful candidates will receive a yearly stipend (paid monthly) set at the UKRI rate - for 2024/5 this will be £19,237. Harper Adams University is unfortunately unable to offer a fee waiver for international students applying and evidence of funding will be required for International Fee paying students to show they can cover the difference between the UK and international fees for the full four years - for the 2024/5 academic year this amount is £10,890. However, scholarships maybe be available at the time of appointment to cover the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of the programme.


1. Walker et al. (1986) Psych. Rep 59:427-430; 2. Kearney et al. (2014) North Caroline Medical Journal 75: 384-392; 3. Smith (2020) J Rur Stud 80: 522-531; 4. Smith (2022) Int J Rur Crim 6: 197-222.

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Harper Adams University is one of the premier UK Higher Education institutions focused on the land-based and food supply chain sector. With around 2,800 undergraduate students, plus those completing postgraduate, research and CPD programmes, Harper Adams University is the UK's largest single provider of higher education for these subjects. Programmes fall into eleven broad subject areas – but none operate in isolation. Community and collaboration are key at Harper Adams, meaning everyone, including staff, students and industry partners, benefits from a close network of knowledge and opportunity exchange. Situated in Shropshire, the campus and the surrounding area provide an excellent working and living environment for staff and students alike.

Harper Adams is consistently positioned highly in a range of national ratings, performance measures and league tables. The University has been the highest performing modern university in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide for the last four years, climbing to 17th place in the overall league table. In the 2020 guide Harper Adams was named Modern University of the Year and runner-up University of the Year. In the 2019 Whatuni? Student Choice Awards, based on student reviews, Harper Adams won the Student Support category for the fifth time – the only university to have taken the title since the awards began - and won the category for best job prospects for a fourth year running. In the 2020 QS World Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry published in March 2020, Harper Adams was ranked first in the UK for academic reputation and second in the world for its reputation with employers.

Harper Adams University is internationally recognised for the quality of its research, as evidenced by the Research Excellence Framework 2022. In order to maintain and uphold the high standards of our research, we continue to undertake initiatives to ensure that integrity, ethics and excellence are at the core of our research activities and fully embedded in our research culture.


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