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Understanding drought tolerance of potato using multispectral imaging technology

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

Project Description

Potato crop yield is severely affected by drought and heat stress. Extremes in UK summer temperatures and periods of drought are likely to increase due to climate change, and new methods are required to maintain yields. Farmers are increasingly looking to soil amendments to improve soil health and composition, and also to reduce water and fertilizer use. In collaboration with Branston Ltd., this project will assess impacts of soil organic matter content upon potato cultivar performance, and test soil amendments for their efficacy in reducing the impact of drought and heat stress. The project will be highly interdisciplinary, combining agronomy, multispectral imaging, metabolite analysis, molecular biology, and genetics. Work placements with Branston Ltd. will provide hands-on experience with potato agronomic practice and business, and training in academic and laboratory techniques will also be provided by the world leading School of Agriculture, Policy & Development at the University of Reading.
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, 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.

Funding Notes

Applicants should hold a minimum of an Honours Degree (2:1 level) or equivalent in subjects such as Agriculture & Crop Science, Environmental & Soil Science, or Plant Biology & Physiology. A Masters degree in these or related subjects would be desirable, but not essential. Previous experience with R statistical software and/or molecular biology techniques would be advantageous.


Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£14,777 2018/2019 tax-free) for 4 years for UK/EU students subject to eligibility criteria. Unfortunately, studentships are not available to non-UK/EU applicants.
For further details please contact Dr Luke Bell: [email protected] or for application queries contact Roz Wareing, [email protected] . Visit the Waitrose CTP Website
Follow the instructions on How to apply of the Waitrose CTP website

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