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  MScR: Mechanisms of electroreception in insects

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Prof D Robert  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A MScR studentship is currently available in the Sensory Biophysics Group at the School of Biological Sciences. The studentship is supported by an ERC Advanced Investigator Award and is open to UK postgraduates. The project is entitled “mechanisms of electroreception in bees and other terrestrial animals”, and seeks to explore the sensory ecology and mechanisms of electroreception in air. 

For this studentship, the research programme will aim at better understanding the sensory interactions between insects and plants in the contexts of pollination and predation. Our recent research has shown that bees can detect and learn about the presence of electric fields surrounding flowers – a new sensory modality called aerial electroreception. Based on electrostatic build up, this kind of interaction may be present in many more insects and have different functions. Much research remains to be done to understand to the presence, function and diversity of electroreception in insects and other arthropods. 

The host laboratory offers a highly interdisciplinary research environment, where biologists, mathematicians and physicists work together. The studentship is therefore integral part of a team, including postdoctoral researchers and PhD students. The successful candidate will be given training and opportunities to gain experience in a range of techniques and disciplines, ranging from behavioural and neuroethological approaches to study the sensitivity of bees to weak electric fields to laser Doppler vibrometry. Training in other methods used routinely in the lab will be provided, such as measurements of local electric charge and electric fields surrounding bees and flowers. Backgrounds in Biological Sciences and/or Physics are considered. 


MSc by Research (MScR) is a 1-year research degree that provides an intensive lab-based training and a preparation for PhD study. You will carry out your studies as part of your research group – like a PhD student does. Towards the end of the year, you write up a thesis on your research and are examined on this. This degree suits students wanting to gain maximum research experience in preparation for PhD applications. 

We are keen to recruit a diverse range of students and to ensure our research is open to all. We particularly welcome applications from groups traditionally under-represented in life sciences research.

Please contact Prof Daniel Robert ([Email Address Removed]) directly for information about the project. 

How to apply:

Use the following link to apply: Start your application | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol

You should apply to the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Biological Sciences selecting the programme Biological Sciences - MSc by Research.

Please ensure you upload all supporting documents as per the admissions statement (which applies to both PhD and MScR programmes): PhD Biological Sciences | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol

Clearly indicate the supervisor name and project title in the relevant section of the application form.

The system will not allow you to submit your application without uploading a document to the research statement section.  Where this is an optional requirement, please upload a blank Word document which is headed “No research statement required”.

 Applications are accepted all year round. However, the preferred entry points for study are September / January / April / July.

Biological Sciences (4) Environmental Sciences (13) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported by an ERC Advanced Investigator Award covering tuition fees and research costs for one year. It is open to UK postgraduates.

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