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Turning Up the Heat on Pest Insect Reproduction: Optimising Thermal Control in Dry Food Storage Facilities (GAGEU20DTP)

Project Description

Stored product insect pests seriously damage global food production, especially in developing countries. Chemical methods to control these pests are either becoming regulated due to health concerns or environmental damage, or have become less effective as resistance evolves. New methods of pest management are therefore urgently sought. Thermal control is being increasingly used, when 60oC temperatures are applied to kill insects in contained facilities. However, this can be energetically expensive and cause collateral damage. In this PhD, you will examine how less extreme temperatures can be used to control key pests through thermal sensitivities within reproduction, enabling more economically effective management.

Using lab experiments, you will study how different thermal regimes with different insect populations influence reproduction, recovery, survival and potential to infest in some key stored product pests, scaling findings up to larger storage facilities. You will be trained to sample, culture and manage different insects, and conduct and analyse results of rigorously-controlled experiments revealing how increased temperatures influence pest reproduction and population viability. You will master techniques in phenotyping, microdissection and bioimaging.

The PhD is an opportunity to answer relevant scientific questions about a key food security issue. You will join a welcoming and active group generating world-class science (, and an energetic NRP DTP cohort, enabling you to develop into an independent-thinking, international-impact scientist in a key area for food security. You should have a good degree in the life sciences, relevant research experience, and be keen to advance scientific understanding of insect pest control. Contact supervisor Matthew Gage for details: .

Project supervisor: /
Project sponsor: Norwich Research Park Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: 1 October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 4 years


- First degree (2:1 or above) in relevant subject
- English language (IELTS 6.5 overall, 6 in each section)


This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 7th, 8th or 9th January 2020.

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website:

Funding Notes

For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: View Website. Full Studentships cover a stipend (2019/0 rate: £15,009pa), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

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