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Integrated sensing technologies for rapid tree health assessment

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, April 07, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

UK tree health is under pressure from invasive pests/diseases and climate change. Monitoring is required to understand ecological impacts and for public safety. This project will assess ground-based sensor technologies for their unique potential to provide flexible, rapid tree health data in urban areas and near key infrastructure.

This project closely aligns with the ‘Environment’ (tree health), theme of the call, although the developed monitoring approaches would have application in agriculture and tree crops (Agriculture).

Aims and hypotheses

The project would investigate which ground-based sensor technologies would be suitable for monitoring and assessing tree health, identifying which of those technologies could be applied to support the organisations who are required to monitor and manage trees, and undertaking fieldwork on test case sites to assess the performance and develop the practical application of the technologies and processing methodologies. This will directly address Fera’s science strategy aims to deliver innovations in environmental monitoring including remote sensing, deliver risk management and decision support systems, and sustain capabilities to ensure UK biosecurity.
The hypotheses to be tested are:
1. That ground-based sensors will allow rapid assessment of tree health through providing information on tree canopy structure and/or spectral characteristics of the canopy.
2. That ground-based sensors are able to accurately replicate the results from established visual assessment methodologies.
3. That a system combining existing ground-based sensors with automated workflows could be developed as a proof-ofconcept for automated mobile tree health mapping.

Full Project Description

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form. Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

• insert the programme code 8010F in the programme of study section
• select ‘PhD in Agriculture and Rural Development (FT) – Food and Nutrition’ as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code IAFRI-05 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the project, quote reference code IAFRI-05 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
• attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

You should also send a covering letter and CV to Mr Steven Hall (e-mail to )

The online application system will only allow one application for an IAFRI studentship. If you are applying for TWO projects then you will need to e-mail Postgraduate Admissions and Steven Hall with the following information:

-your applicant number (from the first project application)
-the second project title
-a two page covering letter for the second project
Please also include 'IAFRI-05' in the email header

Funding Notes

There are five studentships available from 10 projects to choose from based on the current themes.
Students will be based at either Newcastle University or Fera Science Ltd in York. Each award provides a 3 year PhD with 100% tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus an annual stipend (minimum £15,009) Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

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