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Managing pollination services at farm-scale: making ‘ecological intensification’ a reality (DICKSU17iNERC)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Dicks
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project asks how individual farmers can manage pollinators in their landscapes to provide pollination services to crops they are growing.

The IPBES global assessment of pollinators and pollination identified ‘ecological intensification’ as a key strategy for supporting pollinators and pollination services worldwide. This approach to farming actively manages ecological functions such as pollination, pest regulation and soil nutrient cycling to increase yield. Demand for pollination in agriculture is growing, yet many pollinators are declining in range and/or abundance.

You will do the underlying research needed to build a pollination module in the Omnia Precision software package, recently launched by CASE partner HL Hutchinson Ltd ( The module will incorporate pollinator dependency of crops grown on the farm, identities and dynamic pollen and nectar needs of key pollinators for these crops, maps of floral resources, estimated resource deficits, with practical advice on how to correct them. Your work will be a major step forward in operationalising ecological intensification for real farms.

You will join the NERC EnvEast Doctoral Training Programme at UEA (, and the Hutchinsons Foundation graduate training programme for agronomists, setting you up for a career in sustainable agriculture at the interface between research and business.

Key skills you will develop:

• Ecological sampling and experimental design
• Ecological modelling
• Statistical analysis, including spatial data
• Applications of GIS and remote sensing in landscape ecology
• Software development
• Working with industry

More information about the project is available on request. Please contact Lynn Dicks ([Email Address Removed])

Interviews will be held on 7 February 2017.

Funding Notes

This NERC Industrial Case studentship in partnership with HL Hutchinson Ltd is funded for 4 years. An annual stipend of £14,296 will be available to the successful candidate who meets the UK Research Council eligibility criteria. These requirements are detailed in the RCUK eligibility guide which can be found at . In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award.


i) IPBES (2016) Summary for policymakers of the assessment report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on pollinators, pollination and food production, Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany, 2016;.
ii) Dicks LV, Viana B, Bommarco R, Brosi B, Arizmendi M del C, Cunningham SA, Galetto L, Hill R, Lopes AV, Pires C, Taki H, Potts SG (2016). Ten policies for pollinators. Science (in press)
iii) Dicks LV, Baude M, Roberts SPM, Phillips J, Green M, C. C (2015) How much flower-rich
habitat is enough for wild pollinators? Answering a key policy question with incomplete
knowledge. Ecological Entomology 40 (S1):22-35. doi: 10.1111/een.12226
iv) Becher MA, Grimm V, Knapp J, Horn J, Twiston-Davies G & Osborne JL (2016) BEESCOUT: A model of bee scouting behaviour and a software tool for characterizing nectar/pollen landscapes for BEEHAVE Ecol Model 340 126-133
v) O’Connell J, Bradter U, Benton TG. Wide-area mapping of small-scale features in agricultural landscapes using airborne remote sensing. Isprs Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. 2015;109:165-177. doi:10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2015.09.007.

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