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Improving soil health in apple and pear orchards

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

A healthy soil can increase yields, improve fruit quality, reduce the need for irrigation, and help protect the environment so it is no wonder that there is increasing interest in ensuring that soils are healthy. In a changing climate making soils resistant and resilient to climate change, especially drought, is also an important aspect of soil health. Despite the importance of soil health we don’t know much about what is important for driving soil health in fruit orchards. This project will work with Worldwide Fruits Limited to address this knowledge gap and conduct research resulting in advice to growers about how to improve soil health. This project will use a combination of field surveys, field experiments and more controlled laboratory experiments to investigate how we can improve soil health. This will include using an established experiment on wildflower pollinator strips to investigate whether they can provide co-benefits for soil health. The successful applicant will join the friendly and lively plant and soil lab at Lancaster University and will work closely with Worldwide Fruit.

What is the CTP? This funded project forms part of the 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. The CTP will deliver studentships on the themes of sustainable crop production, sustainable soil and water and biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture.This project is based at Lancaster University

Funding Notes

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


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 details please contact Dr Carly Stevens: [email protected] or for application queries contact Roz Wareing, [email protected] . Visit the Waitrose CTP Website

Follow the instructions on How to apply of the Waitrose CTP website

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