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Understanding and predicting the effects of climate change on European yields of oilseed rape (PENFIELDJ20DTP)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Climate change is now widely understood to be impacting food supplies. Ensuring future food security will require understanding how climate change will affect crop yields in different agricultural systems and the design of appropriate measures for adaptation.

Oilseed rape is an important crop in Europe, but its yield is highly variable depending on the weather. Because of the large effects of weather on yield, oilseed rape is likely to be vulnerable to climate change, but there is currently no basis for predicting the impact of climate change on yields.

This project aims to bring together crop and climate models to generate new tools for predicting how oilseed rape crops will be affected in future climate scenarios. Using these tools you will explore the potential of proposed adaptation measures to inform agricultural policy and planning.

The specific steps will be:
1. Test and improve crop models to effectively simulate known effects of past weather and on oilseed rape yields.
2. Generate climate change predictions and feed these into crop models to understand how yield will be affected in different scenarios.
3. Design and test adaptation strategies by modelling and on the experimental farm, in collaboration with the field trials team.

The successful applicant will receive training in computational and statistical approaches to understanding climate change impacts, and in relevant agricultural physiology. The student will be based at the John Innes Centre and at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the UEA.

Applicants will possess or expect to obtain a minimum 2:1 bachelor degree in a numerical subject, such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, or physics. Applicants with science degrees are welcome if a strong numerical background can be evidenced.


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: https://biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/

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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