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Grass silage effluent: Environmental impacts and management implications( Ref: WD_2022_09_WSCH)

   Research Support Unit

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  Dr Sara Vero, Dr James humphreys, Dr I Casey  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Post summary

Effluent is produced as a byproduct of the ensiling process and represents both a potent source of contamination to watercourses and a valuable source of nutrients which can be recycled within the farm system. Most research into silage production in Ireland is focused on forage production with little investigation of effluent production and utilization. There is limited understanding of how conclusions from previous studies may be applied to current silage production and particularly, to forthcoming challenges to grassland systems such as the impact of lower fertilization rates and increase in organic systems.

 This project will investigate production and chemistry (pH, BOD, N, P, K, etc.) of silage effluent as influenced by soil index, and to evaluate the potential of silage effluent as a fertilizer and its potential environmental impacts.

Three distinct, current agri-environmental challenges will be emphasized:

• Production of silage from low-input (P) soils.

• Achieving circularity in grassland K supply through recycling of effluent.

• Silage production from organic swards.

 Duties and responsibilities of the position will include:

·       Running of silage incubations

·       Analysis of silage quality and effluent chemistry

·       Operation of grass pot trial

·       Literature review and scientific writing

·       Liaising with the research team

 The PhD student will be expected to publish in peer-reviewed journals and over the course of the position will develop analytical and research skills and key knowledge and experience needed for roles in the field of agriculture and environmental science.

Person specification



·       Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in a B.Sc. in a relevant field such as Agriculture, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science, Earth Science, Geography, Soil Science or related disciplines.


·       Qualification in related areas with direct application to the topic such as crop nutrition.


Knowledge & Experience


· Applicants must have knowledge of crop nutrition and grassland agriculture.


· Experience in laboratory research and/or field trials.

·       Experience with statistical packages would be an advantage.

·       The applicant has conducted an undergraduate research project or trial and/or has fulfilled work placements at a relevant agri-environmental research centre.

Skills & Competencies


·       Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.

·       The applicant must be highly motivated, be able to think and work independently, and have good communication and teamwork skills.

·       The applicant must have a full driving license.

·       Competent in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.


· Laboratory skills such as extraction, gas chromatography, analytical chemistry, basic lab safety, formulation of SOPs, etc.

·       Scientific writing skills.

·       Use of referencing software and statistical packages.

Funding Notes

Department / School: School of Science and Computing
Duration: 48 Months PhD
Status: Full Time
Funding information: WD_2022_09_WSCH
Value of the scholarship per year for 4 years: Stipend: €15,000 , Fees: €4,500 , Research costs: €12,000
Teaching requirement: 168 hours of academic development activities over the 4-year term of the PhD programme in line with scholarship requirements.
Closing date and time : 23rd May 2022 @ 4PM Irish Time
This Competition will close at 4pm Irish time on the 3rd of September 2021.
Interview date: TBC
Commencement date: September 2022


Further information
For any informal queries, please contact Dr Sara Vero on email sara.vero@wit.ie.
For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email rpgadmissions@wit.ie or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.
Website: www.wit.ie
Application procedure
Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form and return completed applications to rpgadmissions@wit.ie, quoting WD_2022_09_WSCH in the email subject line.
Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.
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