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Plasma agriculture: Improving the productivity of agricultural land and eliminating the reliance on chemical fungicides

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

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: CENTA20-LU14
Start date: 1 October 2020
Closing date: 10 January 2020
Interview date: Week beginning 3 February 2020

Primary supervisor: Dr Felipe Iza
Secondary supervisor: Dr Karen Coopman/Dr Alex Shaw (Zayndu Ltd)

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
Find out more:
Project Detail:

In order to keep pace with the world's expanding population, global crop production needs to double by 2050. And this needs to be achieved despite the rising global temperatures and emerging erratic weather patterns caused by climate change. To meet this challenge with minimal environmental impact, the productivity of agricultural land must be increased through strategic and technological advancements.

Pathogen-free seeds are a starting point for securing productivity of agricultural land but consistency in the seed release from dormancy and germination is also critical. Most seeds exhibit dormancy, an adaptation trait that allows species to determine the timing of germination. Dormant seeds do not germinate even if environmental conditions are suitable and therefore inconsistencies in the release from dormancy has a negative impact on crop production. Erratic climate patterns under global warming will affect seed dormancy, dormancy release and germination. This PhD will explore the use of low-temperature gas plasma technology as a novel chemical-free disinfection tool and a means of triggering seed dormancy release in different species and climate scenarios.

Find out more:
For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr Felipe Iza ([Email Address Removed]) or Dr Karen Coopman ([Email Address Removed]).

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant Engineering or Science discipline. An appetite and aptitude for interdisciplinary research is essential, as well as good communication. Multi-disciplinary training will be provided, and the student will join biologists, chemists and engineers working in related research. A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research, while not essential, will be an advantage.

Contact details

Dr Felipe Iza
[Email Address Removed]
Tel.: +44 (0)1509 227077

How to apply

To apply:
1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from or here).
2. All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select “Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA20-LU14 when completing your online application.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2020. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum (in 2019/20) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,327 in 2019/20) and a research training support grant of £8,000. Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder, only students with a UK/EU fee status will initially be considered for this position. Further guidance about eligibility is available at UKRI Terms and Conditions.

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