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Bioprospecting for plant growth promoting microbes

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  • Full or part time
    Dr T Mauchline
    Dr I Clark
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Naturally occurring soil microbes resident in the root microbiome have been shown to benefit plants through increased macro and micro nutrient availability, hormonal growth modulation, abiotic stress relief as well as disease suppression. Rothamsted is home to several long-term field experiments, including Broadbalk (initiated in 1843) which is concerned with wheat yield. The design of this experiment includes a range of nutrient combinations at various concentrations, and it follows that plots depleted in specific nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) could have, over 175 years, selected for microbes with the ability to mineralise recalcitrant forms of nutrients from soil.

Soil microbes offer potential to contribute to sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduce the use of agrochemicals. As the successful PhD candidate, you will work within an experienced multidisciplinary team to identify and better understand beneficial plant-microbial interactions in wheat, with the view of developing robust combinations of microbial isolates for enhanced crop growth. The successful candidate will be based at Rothamsted Research and will be co-supervised by collaborators from the University of Reading. The project will be funded by BASF. A senior manager from the company will co-supervise the successful candidate enabling him/her to develop an understanding of how outputs from science can be translated into practical solutions for farmers.

About BASF
This PhD project is one of three 175th Year Anniversary Studentships funded by BASF, a global company with interests in a number of sectors and sales of €5.7 billion in agriculture. To meet the challenge of sustainable food production, the company invests heavily in a strong R&D pipeline and portfolio of products, which includes seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. This is possible by employing leading experts in the lab, field, office and in production, who can connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth actions to create real world ideas that work, and by working effectively with academic organisations like Rothamsted Research.

Further enquiries
Please contact Tim Mauchline, the Rothamsted supervisor for the project, on [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

Each student will be supported by the tax-free stipend (£14,777 in 2018/19), typically for 4 years. In addition, for eligible students, the award will cover fees for EU/UK nationals and a Research and Training Grant to fund their research, conference attendance and networking.

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Environmental Science, Natural Sciences or biology.

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