Investigation of the efficacy of novel foliar and seed fertilisers in arid and high saline soils
Applications are invited for suitably qualified candidates interested in pursuing a PhD by completing a multidisciplinary and extremely industrially relevant research project within the PMBRC/EIRC at WIT. The candidate will be enrolled on the WIT Structured PhD programme at Waterford IT which will allow them to gain experience and project required skills from subject matter experts in the fields of agronomics, crops and soils.
Salt affected soils, which tend to be prevalent in arid regions, limit crop yields and plants are required to absorb essential nutrients from a dilute source in the presence of highly concentrated nonessential nutrients. Nutrient uptake and use efficiency is low due to salt stress and negative interactions with cations and anions present in high concentrations. A higher amount of nutrient is applied in salt affected soils compared to normal soils thereby increasing costs and environmental impact. Salts also reduce activity of many enzymes which supply energy for nutrient uptake. Avoidance of soil nutrient losses could potentially be achieved through the replacement of soil based chemical fertilisers by foliar absorbed nutrients applied at various plant growth stages. It has been found that foliar application of micronutrients substantially improved yield related attributes, grains and harvest index and that foliar application of N, P & K helped enhance yield and yield components of wheat. This project will conduct comparative trials of foliar absorbed fertilisers conducted on mineral, high saline and low organic soils in order to ascertain if significant differences in harvest index and grain yield occurs. This research has the potential to significantly reduce the fertiliser nutrient losses that can contribute to poor water quality and impact negatively on the environment.
Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship
With regard to the duties for the academic development of the scholarship student some examples are but not restricted to:
• Tutorials and outreach programmes
• Laboratory supervision
• Undergraduate mentoring
• Student retention
• Promotional activities and open day events
• Conference and networking organisation
• Identification of agronomic and key environmental performance indicators
• Optimisation of rate of foliar fertiliser products using hydroponics and greenhouse studies
• Development of field trials in Ireland and Algeria
• Field scale demonstrations and cost benefit analysis
The student will work in an established research group within the EIRC, with a wide range of equipment and expertise available and present their work at group team meetings. The project will allow attendance at national and international conferences for result dissemination and networking. The student will also be required to prepare and submit research papers to high impact international journals as directed by and under the supervision of the Research Supervisory Team.
This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme
Stipend: €12,000 p/a
Fees: €4,500 p/a
Research costs: €2,000 p/a
For any informal queries, please contact Dr. Michael Breen, +353 51 302644
For more information on this scholarship and how to apply, please go to View Website