Principal Industrial Supervisor – Dr. Ronald Daalmans, Chivas Brothers Ltd
Principal Academic Supervisors – Dr. Alison Karley, James Hutton Institute (JHI), Dr Alexandra Morel, University of Dundee
Additional Supervisors – Dr. Cathy Hawes, James Hutton Institute
This project will be based at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie and the appointed student will registered at the University of Dundee as the degree awarding institution.
A four-year funded PhD studentship starting in October 2022 is offered jointly between the James Hutton Institute and Chivas Brothers to improve the sustainability of barley production. Agriculture contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity losses and unsustainable natural resource use, and Scotland has committed to ambitious targets for reversing these trends in a green recovery phase. There is an urgent need for evidence of the agronomic practices, particularly including intercropping, that collectively deliver optimised environmental performance while maintaining grain processing quality.
The studentship will first review agronomic practices, including intercropping, variety choice, soil cultivation, nutrient management, uncropped areas and precision technologies, to identify combinations most likely to give robust improvements in environmental performance and reduced carbon footprint of barley production (fewer inputs; better nutrient retention; enhanced soil carbon and biodiversity). Promising interventions will be tested for their effects on barley yield, malting quality and environmental performance in multi-variety low-input trials at sites with contrasting pedoclimatic conditions, allowing quantitative comparison of the outcomes of each practice. Alongside this, Scottish barley growers will be consulted to identify the barriers to, and opportunities for, wider uptake of alternative practices. The practices showing the best outcomes for barley production, malting quality and environmental performance will be ‘stacked’ in larger-scale on-farm trials testing their ability to minimise trade-offs and optimise sustainability targets, set against long-term trends at Hutton’s Centre for Sustainable Cropping. Best-practice guidelines with supporting evidence will be co-developed with farmers and agronomists for knowledge transfer.
The project provides excellent opportunities for training in multi-disciplinary skills and techniques spanning agroecology, crop physiology, social research, experiment design, statistical analysis, and knowledge translation that will be highly attractive to future employers. The project will suit candidates with an agriculture/agroecology background interested in working with stakeholders to solve sustainability challenges facing the barley industry. Placements at Chivas Brothers will provide invaluable insights into the practicalities of processing grain for malt and spirits, and an important link to barley growers supplying the whisky industry.
The studentship is offered jointly between the James Hutton Institute and Chivas Brothers, funded by the BARIToNE Collaborative Training Partnership. Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a high-class Honours degree (equivalent to 2:1 or above) and/or an excellent postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject. Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with Alison Karley ([Email Address Removed]) or Cathy Hawes ([Email Address Removed]), providing a CV and explaining why this project is of interest to you.
How to Apply
Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details