The increasing pressure on land resources will challenge our current food system’s ability to meet the demands of the world’s growing population. A reliance on a few crop species, and monocultures of elite varieties, limits the resilience of agricultural systems to biotic stressors, and extreme climatic events. There is a pressing need for more diverse and resilient crops, which could be met by harnessing the diversity that exists in heritage varieties and wild relatives.
Recent technological advances in advanced imaging, remote-sensing and machine learning provide a novel opportunity to understand how crops respond to different environmental stressors. This project will integrate research conducted in controlled-environment growth chambers with field experiments, to measure the phenotypic traits of key heritage crop varieties, under different temperature and drought conditions. Plant phenotypic responses will be measured using a novel combination of hyperspectral reflectance, chlorophyll fluorescence and drone-based imaging, combined with traditional plant science measurements (gas-exchange, nutrient content). The student will be based in the School of Biosciences at the University of Sheffield and have access to state-of-the-art phenotyping and growth chamber facilities. The ideal candidate will have a background in plant science, with experience in remote-sensing techniques, computer programming or handling large datasets desirable.
The BBSRC WR DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.
Note: Relocation costs for international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) will be the responsibility of the student
Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.
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Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)
Start Date: 1st October 2023
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023