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  Does fertilizer placement play a key role in crop establishment?

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr Craig Sturrock  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Researcher Academy

Polyhalite is the first new mineral fertilizers for crop production in 75 years. It provides a fundamentally different approach because it nourishes crops while enhancing soils. Further, it meets key criteria of climate-smart crop nutrition. For example, in addition to improving crop productivity, it has an ultra-low carbon footprint, no chemical processing, zero water footprint, zero waste, and certification for organic agriculture. Unlocking the full potential of such a promising mineral is an urgent research priority. Preliminary work has shown positive agronomic responses to this fertilizer, although the magnitude of the response can be variable. A key unanswered questions is does the placement of polyhalite in the soil affect the nutrient uptake to the crop plant, therefore offering potential to optimize nutrient delivery and performance in the field.  

In this project the student will seek to develop a comprehensive understanding of how polyhalite interacts with soil environment to deliver nutrients to the crop plant.  

The studentship will be based within the group at the University of Nottingham’s world-leading Hounsfield Facility at Sutton Bonington and involve collaboration with scientists at Anglo-American and will also provide a fully funded placement of three months at their facilities. The student will undertake a range of field and laboratory-based experiments where full training (as a beginner) will be provided opportunities to gain key skills across a wide range of interdisciplinary areas including in soil physics/mechanics, X-ray CT imaging, laser ablation tomography and plant-soil interactions. The student will also be able to access the generic training courses offered by the University of Nottingham Researcher Academy

Keyword Search

Crop, Soil Physics, Plant

Award Start Date

October 2024

Duration of Award

4 years

Terms and Conditions

Home students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2024. The award covers tuition fee (£4,786) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which will be (£19,237) for 2024. This is set by UKRI.

Applicant Qualification Requirements

To apply and check your eligibility, please click go to and you can find further information about how to apply to our programme.

How to apply

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Craig Sturrock ([Email Address Removed]) or the Nottingham BBSRC DTP Team ([Email Address Removed])

Apply online here by noon on Monday 6th May 2024

Agriculture (1) Biological Sciences (4) Environmental Sciences (13)

Where will I study?

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 About the Project