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Fully funded MSc by Research in Biology - A perfect sunrise: modulating dawn light for greater yield and quality in vertical farms


   Department of Biology

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  Dr D Ezer, Prof K Denby  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Controlled environment agriculture, such as indoor vertical farming, is a rapidly growing horticultural sector, reducing

water, fertiliser and pesticide use and producing food on non-arable land. A key drawback is energy use, hence increasing yield (per energy input) and reducing losses are critical factors for environmental impact. In vertical farms plants experience dawn as a sudden change whereas a natural sunrise is gradual and variable. We have identified an Arabidopsis gene network that responds to light in the early morning and is predicted to impact photosynthesis and fungal disease resistance. In this project we will investigate the impact of different sunrise regimes

on this network, determining whether the network is conserved in lettuce and how morning gene expression in lettuce changes as a result of different sunrise conditions. We will also assess how different sunrises influence the yield of microherbs in a vertical farm. The successful student will work in the lab (using techniques such as RNASeq and qPCR) and at Grow It York, (University vertical farm) in collaboration with Vertically Urban. using their low energy, tunable LED lighting.

The Department of Biology at the University of York is committed to recruiting extraordinary 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 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.

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.

Programme: MSc by Research in Biology (1 years)

Start date: 1st October 2022


Funding Notes

The Masters by Research is fully funded via a collaboration between University of York and our industrial partner Vertically Urban and covers (i) a 12 month tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI rate (ii) £6,000 research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK rate.

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