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BARIToNE: Unlocking the Potential of the soils for carbon farming to meet net zero through real time GHG predictions

   School of Life Sciences

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  Dr J Yeluripati, Dr Ronald Daalmans, Dr Frances Sandison  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Principal Industrial Supervisor – Dr Ronald Daalmans, Chivas Brothers Ltd, Paisley 

Principal Academic Supervisors – Dr Jagadeesh Yeluripati, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen 

Additional Supervisors – Dr Frances Sandison, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen 

This project will be based at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen and the appointed student will register at University of Dundee as the degree awarding institution. 

This four-year PhD studentship is fully funded by the BARIToNE Collaborative Training Partnership and offered (from Oct. 2023) by University of Dundee, Chivas Brothers Ltd, and the James Hutton Institute. 

In November 2018, the Committee on Climate Change reported that ‘fundamental reform is required to ensure that land becomes a more effective carbon store’ (CCC, 2018), and suggested land use policy must promote radically different uses of UK land to support deeper emissions reductions. Existing carbon trading or payment mechanisms have highlighted the enormous potential for economic levers to deliver Net Zero. Progress made in GHG mitigation and carbon sequestration in agriculture and land use sector is very slow and faces challenges technically due to lack of scalable alternate processes and economically lack of viable customised business models suited for local conditions. 

Robust knowledge and tools are needed for policymakers and farmers to ensure future sustainable management of soils, and production of agricultural commodities to meet Net Zero goals. There is a need for credible and reliable measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) platforms, for national reporting, emissions trading and to track progress towards Net Zero, as well as transparency and understanding of GHG emissions along the entirety of product supply chains. 

The PhD student is expected to upscale technology developed in RETINA project by dealing with various stakeholders ranging from farmers to private and public sector stakeholders. The student is expected to undertake a case study on the Whisky supply chain, to create carbon footprint models to identify hotspots, potential improvements and viable business models for carbon farming and trading. This PhD will characterize the elements of successful business models, identify market failures, and outline a range of challenges to be overcome to build a commercial case for the private sector for viable carbon trading. The student will build on existing strengths within Hutton developed with recent success (~£2 million investment). This includes the NERC-RETINA project, which developed a functional digital MVR prototype by combining information from field-based sensors, remote sensing, smartphone apps and integration of models to confirm management practice effectiveness on soil carbon and GHG reductions, and the EU-SENSE project. 

The project provides excellent opportunities for training in multi-disciplinary skills and techniques spanning agroecology, biogeochemical modelling, statistical analysis, training in High performance computing 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. 

How to Apply

Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details

Funding Notes

If you are successful, you will receive a full UKRI stipend (currently £17,668) also covering tuition fees, training, and travel budget. Funding will be available to any successfully appointed International students to help defray costs of VISA and IHS charge. We also offer enhanced support to individuals with primary care responsibilities or disabilities.
UKRI-funded studentships are open to students worldwide. The proportion of international students appointed through the CTP is capped at 30%. Students must meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in the UKRI T&Cs (https://www.ukri.org/publications/terms-and-conditions-for-training-funding) (see TGC 5.2).
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