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  Self-funded MSc R- Sublethal effects of novel insecticides on a beneficial parasitoid wasp and the implications for biological control

   School of Biological Sciences

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Broad-spectrum chemical insecticides such as neonicotinoids are a major cause of beneficial insect declines globally. In response to this, bans and restrictions on neonicotinoid use have been implemented on a global scale in an attempt to reverse trends in insect biodiversity loss. This has led to a rise in the development of novel ‘bee-safe’ insecticides, including flupyradifurone, registered for use in the control of pest insects. Whilst these novel insecticides differ in their chemical class, they share the same mode of action as neonicotinoids, raising the question as to whether they have similar sub-lethal impacts on beneficial insects.

Parasitoid wasps of the genus Aphidius are beneficial insects in agroecosystems and play an important role in the biological control of cereal aphids; economically important pests that threaten the production of staple cereal crops including wheat, triticale, and barley. Employing wasps of the genus Aphidius and their aphid hosts as the study system, the proposed project will investigate non-lethal effects of novel insecticide exposure on these beneficial parasitoid wasps and their ability to perform natural biological control of cereal aphids.

The successful candidate will gain experience in a range of laboratory techniques including measures of life history traits, microdissection, and insect husbandry across multiple trophic levels.

This is currently a self-funded MSc R project to begin September 2024.  

MSc by Research 

MSc by Research (MSc R) 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 check the University webpages for the current tuition fee information. Most MSc R projects also require a bench fee. This varies depending on the research and your project supervisor can tell you the bench fee for the project. 

How to apply 

Before applying, please read carefully the information on the prospectus Biological Sciences | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol and make sure you have all the documents listed in the Entry Requirements – Admissions Statement and English Language Requirements.  

To apply, follow the link Start your application | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol and select the programme “Biological Sciences (MSc by Research)”.

If you have questions about the project, please contact Dr Lucy Alford at 

Dr Lucy Alford - Our People (

If you require assistance with your application, please email  

Agriculture (1) Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This MSc R project is available to UK and international students who wish to self-fund their studies or who have access to their own funding.

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