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Precision Apiculture: enhancing the health and effectiveness of managed honeybees for soft fruit production

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The annual benefits of pollination for soft fruit production in the UK is worth £490M. This studentship will use innovative research approaches to develop a novel tool to improve the health of honeybee colonies and optimally deploy hives to maximise benefits to soft fruit production. Manipulative field experiments will be used to determine the optimal densities and locations of hives on farms. Hives will be enabled with high-tech sensor arrays to monitor colony health and activity in real time to allow detection and rapid response to honeybee health issues. Combining these approaches with pollination and production data will underpin development of a new tool to allow growers to make informed decisions about the sustainable management of honeybee hives.

The student will be part of the world-leading Pollinator research group at the University of Reading and work closely with BerryWorld who are the UK’s foremost soft fruit marketing company (annual turnover >£300M).
This funded project forms part of the Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) between the Waitrose Partnership, their international food production and supply companies, Lancaster University, the University of Reading, University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research. The CTP will deliver studentships on the themes of sustainable crop production, sustainable soil and water and biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture. This project is based at University of Reading.
Applicants should have the minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as ecology, agriculture, or biological science and hold a full UK driving license. A Masters in a relevant subject, and/or experience of beekeeping is desirable (not essential).

Funding Notes

Full studentships UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£15,009 2019/2020 tax-free for 4 years for UK/EU students subject to eligibility criteria. Studentships are not available to non-UK/EU applicants.
A student must have:
Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay And Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK
And Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK or EU nationals.


For further details please contact Prof. Simon Potts: [email protected] for application queries contact Roz Wareing, [email protected]

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