Snap up one of three Rothamsted studentships funded through NERC’s Envision programme

  • 12
  • DEC
  • 2018

The projects cover topics including ecosystem services, crop pests and climate change, and will variously provide modelling, laboratory and field work experience in both the UK and Africa.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Lancaster University is leading the Envision Doctoral Training Programme, which brings together the Universities of Nottingham and Bangor, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the British Geological Survey and Rothamsted Research.

Follow the links below to learn more about each one and how to apply.

Project Title: Landscape diversity underpins sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

We love big data. And with some of the world’s longest running experiments, you could even say, we were built by statistics.

Here’s one for you:

By 2050, 2 1/2 billion people will live in Africa.

How does the continent feed itself whilst protecting its environments from the ravages of industrialised agriculture? How can vital natural services, like pollination, be protected in the face of such pressures?

This modelling PhD will utilise satellite data and cutting edge techniques to understand the link between crop types, ecosystem services and food security across Africa. Working alongside experts from Kenya, Nigeria and the UK, the distribution maps you create will help determine the right crops for the right place at the right time for both people and planet.

Project Title: Complementary strategies for the sustainable management of an invasive pest in Africa

Africa is under siege. The target: its food supply. In less than two years, more than 30 countries have been occupied by an insatiable new invader, the fall armyworm. A fight back that minimises collateral damage requires insect control using environmentally-safe biological pesticides and resistant/tolerant crops.

The project aims to identify suitable biopesticides, crop species & maize strains, and establish whether these crops and control methods can work together.

The project will achieve these goals by using a combination of approaches, including biopesticide bioassays, phenotyping, behavioural assays, chemical ecology approaches and field trials in Kenya.

The student will be expected to spend significant amounts of time at both Lancaster University and Rothamsted Research, as well as several weeks in Kenya.

Project Title: Reducing Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions ‘RAGGE’

Modern farming would struggle without nitrogen inputs – and we should know, because our research led to the world’s first commercial fertilizer.

But you can have too much of a good thing. Excess nitrogen can pollute rivers or be released as nitrous oxide. Here in the UK, soil accounts for about half of all emissions of this harmful greenhouse gas.

This project aims to understand which environmental drivers are involved in greenhouse gas emissions and identify strategies for their reduction.

You’ll be using state of the art real-time detection systems (monitoring N2O, NH3, CH4, CO2 and O2 emissions) along with advanced molecular and sequencing methods for detecting, expression profiling, and sequencing genes involved in nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emission.

About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.