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Up the apples and pears! Precision management of orchards to increase fruit production sustainably

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 22, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Be in at the start of a revolution in fruit production! While precision agriculture is becoming established for arable crops, such approaches have yet to be developed in the production of top fruit such as apples and pears. Currently, most orchard management is non-discriminatory, with all trees subjected to the same interventions, failing to account for variability in tree growth and condition. For more effective management, information is required on a range of diagnostic parameters for each tree. This project will develop novel remote sensing technologies and data analysis methods to quantify the condition of individual trees and inform precise management interventions, thereby optimising the use of labour, energy and chemical inputs. This PhD is co-supervised by a globally leading fruit company who will provide a direct route for your research outputs to be used by growers, to make a significant impact on the efficiency and sustainability of production.

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 Lancaster University

Funding Notes

This PhD is suitable for candidates from a wide range of academic backgrounds such as (but not limited to) Agriculture, Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geography and Natural Science. Applicants should have the minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent and hold a full UK driving license.


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 information please contact Prof Alan Blackburn, [email protected] or for application queries contact Roz Wareing, [email protected]
Follow the instructions on How to apply of the Waitrose CTP website

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