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Bee nesting resources: the missing element of sustainable crop pollination

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Simon Potts
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

To ensure sustainable pollination services to crops, bees and other pollinators, need both forage and a place to live. There is a substantial body of research on how to enhance food resources for bees on farms, but the importance of nesting resources is poorly studied. This highly novel PhD provides an opportunity to work with a world class team of pollination experts to design and test novel interventions to provide bee nesting resources in UK apple orchards. The project will work in partnership with one of the UK’s biggest top fruit suppliers to better understand the fundamental nesting ecology of crop pollinating bees, and develop new management practices to boost nesting sites in commercial orchards. The student will benefit from working with a dynamic group of researchers focussing on pollinator conservation and crop pollination and work collaboratively with ecologists, economists, agronomists, social scientists and policy advisors.

This funded project forms part of a BBSRC-funded Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) between the Waitrose Partnership, their international food production and supply companies, Lancaster University, the University of Reading, University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research. Between 2017 and 2023, the CTP will deliver studentships on the themes of sustainable crop production, sustainable soil and water and biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture.

The recruitment of this project is being led by Lancaster University however this studentship is based at University of Reading.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in biology, environmental science or agriculture/horticulture. A relevant Master’s degree would be beneficial. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for laboratory work and extended periods of fieldwork. A full EU driving licence is also required. The student will be based between Reading and NIAB EMR and Registered with the University of Reading working under the supervision of Prof Simon Potts (UoR), Dr Michelle Fountain (NIAB EMR) and Tony Harding (Worldwide Fruit Limited). The PhD project will also involve a number of placements with WFL.


Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£14,553 2017/18 tax free) for 4 years for UK/EU students subject to eligibility criteria. Unfortunately, studentships are not available to non-UK/EU applicants.

For further information please contact Prof Simon Potts, [email protected] Visit the Waitrose CTP Website

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