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AI-farming: AI-powered intelligent autonomous systems for smart farming

Project Description

From Defra’s statistics, UK Agriculture Sector (utilizing 71% country’s land, supporting 3.9M jobs) lags behind competitors in agricultural productivity.

Globally, agriculture is also facing severe challenges: 70% increase in food demand by 2050, decreasing natural resources and the requirement of reducing environmental footprint.

There is an urgent need to change from management strategies irrespective of stress severity and distribution to informative site-specific ones.

This studentship is a timely response and will embrace emerging opportunities:
- novel sensing technology to acquire crop data with unprecedented resolutions for timely non-destructive monitoring;
- flexible UAV platform for field-scales applications;
- IoT to access various ground data;
- Artificial Intelligence algorithms to analyse an unprecedented volume/velocity/variety of data with an unexampled speed and depth.

The project

This project, perfectly aligned with the themes of Environments and Intelligence, aims to undertake PhD research in AI-powered intelligent systems for smart farming.

The researched systems are expected to provide growers with crop stress diagnostics and intervention strategies. It will increase crop productivity while protecting the environment.

It is envisioned the highly interdisciplinary project, bringing together the expertise of Plant Physiology Lab and Embedded and Intelligent Systems Lab, will help place UK food production among the most productive, resilient and sustainable in the world.


- BSc (first class)/MSc/MPhil in Computer Science, Electronics Engineering, Mathematics, Automation or a related subject.
- Strong theoretical and applied knowledge in machine learning, as well as good programming skills in Matlab/Python/C++ or other languages of choice.
- The successful candidate would be expected to meet our English language requirements.

- Ability and experience to operate small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
- Experience of working on robotics project(s) by using Robot Operation System (ROS).
- Experience of working on precision agriculture project to a successful completion.
- Experience of high-quality publication(s) in English.

How to apply

You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online (

Please include your CV, covering letter, personal statement, and transcripts of UG and Masters degrees in your application.

The University has moved to requiring only one reference for PhD applications and these can be received after a conditional offer has been made so the absence of these will not hold up the recruitment process.

Find out more about this studentship and information on how to apply on our website (

Funding Notes

A full Home/EU fee waiver or equivalent fee discount for overseas students (£5,103 in 2020-21) (further fee details - international students will need to pay the balance of their fees) plus a doctoral stipend equivalent to the RCUK Minimum Doctoral Stipend (£15,009 in 2019-20, stipend for 2020-21 tbc).

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