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The shape of sustainable crop production: re-engineering plant architecture for sustainable food production

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Prof Stefan Kepinski, Dr Tom Bennett  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The spatial arrangement of root and shoot branches is a critical determinant of the plant’s capacity to obtain resources both below and above ground. For this reason, the pathways regulating the number, length and in particular, the angle of growth of lateral organs is an important target in crop improvement programmes. Research in the Kepinski and Bennett groups at the University of Leeds has defined how hormonal signaling systems regulate important components of root and shoot development.

This project will develop and extend this work, based initially in Arabidopsis, to generate technologies for the optimization of root and shoot architecture in species including oilseed rape, maize and wheat. During the project the student will learn to use a range of techniques from forward genetic screening and the generation of fluorescent reporter lines to cell biology, including state-of-the-art bioimaging. This exciting project offers the opportunity to make important discoveries about the fundamental determinants of plant form that address the global challenge of feeding a growing population, sustainably.  


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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