Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

A novel Soil Organic Carbon Measurement and Indexing System

Sponsored by Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary of £17,500 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* plus research consumables for 3.5 years

Apply for this exciting and innovative project to develop methods for optimising soil resource management turning spatial data into dynamic indicators using high frequency remote sensing (RS)data provided by Sentinel-1 and -2 satellites of the European Space Agency. The aim is to reduce agricultural risks and manage uncertainty through strategic and seasonal decisions at the farm and sub-regional scale. The selected student will be part of an international research group interpreting RS data using advanced GIS and modelling techniques. The studentship is part of the Agricultural Research and Innovation Accelerator (AgRIA) established between Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University. It is based in the Open Innovation Hub at Rothamsted and co-supervised by experts in Applied Remote Sensing in the Soil and Agrifood Institute at Cranfield University. Students will receive training in innovation and entrepreneurial skills, and participate in the doctoral training programmes.  
This project aims to develop a novel Soil Carbon Measurement and Indexing System, which will provide agricultural stakeholders with a rapid and low cost means for measuring and monitoring soil organic carbon (SOC) levels and indexing them relative to those required to maintain essential soil functional properties.


Soil AgRIA Doctoral Training Centre The studentship is one of seven in Soil Technology Innovation being funded by Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University as part of a new Agricultural Research and Innovation Accelerator (AgRIA) based at Rothamsted. The Soil AgRIA has been established to accelerate applications of science and engineering advances to soil technology development, to tackle widely-acknowledged constraints to soil and land management, both nationally and globally.

The aim is to accelerate innovation by bringing together engineers, information technologists, natural scientists and soil scientists with business. Students will be co-supervised by Rothamsted and Cranfield scientists and will also be embedded in a multidisciplinary innovation accelerator, advised by a think tank of industrial stakeholders. The degree programme will include training in innovative thinking and entrepreneurial skills, as well as the more-standard Cranfield and Rothamsted doctoral programmes. Students will be registered at Cranfield and will have social and networking opportunities within the Cranfield and Rothamsted wider research communities.

At a glance

  • Application deadlineOngoing
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date02 Oct 2017
  • Duration of award3.5 years
  • EligibilityEU, UK
  • Reference numberSWEE0006


Dr Toby Waine (Cranfield)
Dr Jeroen Meersmans (Cranfield)
Dr Goetz Richter (Rothamsted)

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as a Natural Science, Environmental Science or Engineering. A full driving licence and fluency in English is also required.


Sponsored by Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary of £17,500 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* plus research consumables for 3.5 years 

*RCUK eligibility rules apply. To be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. To be eligible for a fees -only award, a student must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: Steve McGrath,

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the attached application form and send together with a CV to Guy Kirk,

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