STUDENTSHIP

DEVELOPING A PUSH‐PULL BIO‐INSECTICIDAL STRATEGY TO CONTROL ESTABLISHMENT PESTS IN OILSEED RAPE BASED ON ATTRACTANT AND REPELLENT SEMIOCHEMICALS

PROJECT SUMMARY

AREA OF SCIENCE:

Insect biochemistry

DURATION:

4 Years

CLOSING DATE/TIME:

Monday, December 5, 2022 - 00:00

DEPARTMENT:

MORE DETAILS:

Science Department: Protecting Crops and the Environment - Host University: Swansea University

STUDENTSHIP DETAIL

This is an exciting opportunity to work on novel integrated pest management solutions for oilseed rape (OSR). OSR is the second largest UK crop after cereals, but is under significant threat due to the withdrawal of the major conventional pesticides previously used to control pests such as cabbage stem flea beetle and slugs. The use of volatile semiochemicals (behaviour‐modifying ‘information signals’ such as pheromones) to lure pests away from a crop is a
powerful strategy for crop protection; it can allow effective pest control without causing environmental harm or generating unwanted residues on the crop itself.


Over the course of this PhD project you will develop “push‐pull” strategies for OSR protection, whereby repellent semiochemicals placed within or near the crop are used in combination with attractant semiochemicals placed as lures or within trap crops at a more remote location. This will involve laboratory studies with the pests themselves, determination of the most effective blends and formulations of semiochemical compounds and field trials to determine their effectiveness for OSR protection – and any negative effects on non‐target/beneficial organisms – under real‐world conditions. You will develop skills and experience in invertebrate rearing, handling and taxonomy, plant growth studies, behavioural bioassays, invertebrate electrophysiology, analytical chemistry, semiochemical formulation and conducting field trials (design and assessment methods).


The outputs of this work will have the potential for substantial economic and environmental impact, and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of food security and protecting the environment. Integrated pest management is a vibrant and growing sector with significant employment opportunities in academic, industry, and in regulatory and other government bodies. A number of industrial partners are already interested in this work and a PIP placement with them may be possible. You will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team; your work will be divided between  othamsted Research and Swansea University, giving you the opportunity to experience different research environments and ways of working. Swansea University offers state‐of‐the‐art labs for analytical chemistry and invertebrate (especially slug) behaviour studies, and extensive collaborations with industry on formulation science. Rothamsted Research offers world‐class chemical ecology facilities, an invertebrate behaviour laboratory, insectary (with expertise in rearing cabbage stem flea beetle) and on‐site experimental farm.


Our aim as the SWBio DTP is to support students from a range of backgrounds and circumstances. Where needed, we will work with you to take into consideration reasonable project adaptations (for example to support caring responsibilities, disabilities, other significant personal circumstances) as well as flexible working and part‐time study requests, to enable greater access to a PhD. All our supervisors support us with this aim, so please feel comfortable in discussing further with the listed PhD project supervisor to see what is feasible.

To be eligible for a fully-funded studentship, you must meet the below academic and residence criteria.


Academic criteria

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree or have significant relevant research or non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects,  quantitative/mathematical experience is needed.  This can be demonstrated through one or more of the following:

  • Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant quantitative/mathematical component*
  • Maths or Physics A-level (grade B and above)

*Significant mathematical component examples include; maths, statistics, bioinformatics.

Applicants must ensure they highlight their quantitative/mathematical background within their application and to upload any supporting evidence.

To support accessibility to PhD training opportunities, these studentships are only available to applicants that have not previously obtained or about to obtain a PhD degree (or equivalent).


Language requirements

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum English requirements for the programme.  Further information about these English requirements >>

We ask that the language requirements are met by 1st June at the latest, to allow adequate time to obtain any necessary documentation to allow you to study in the UK.  Further information about documentation required >>


Residence criteria

IMPORTANT: Residency requirements are complex and too detailed to capture in full below.  So please read alongside guidance provided on the GOV.UK website and UKCISA website to ensure you meet the criteria.  

Home students

Fully-funded studentships are available for Home students.  To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

International students

Please note: studentships that are currently being advertised (application deadline: 28th June 2022) are only available to applicants that meet the home student criteria.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be classed as an International student.

A limited number (up to 30%) of UKRI fully-funded studentships are available through the SWBio DTP, that applicants who would be classed as an International student are eligible for.  Please apply through our normal application route.

Note: A UKRI fully-funded studentship will only cover what is listed under the ‘UKRI-BBSRC funded studentship‘ section.  However there may be other costs that you may encounter and need to take into consideration which will not be covered by the studentship. For example, visa fees, healthcare surcharge, relocation costs and COVID-19 related quarantine costs.



UKRI-BBSRC funded studentship

A fully-funded four year SWBio DTP studentship will cover:

 - a stipend* (at the standard UKRI rate; £16,062 per annum for 2022-2023)

  •  - research and training costs
  •  - tuition fees **
  •   dditional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month placement

A limited number (up to 30%) of UKRI fully-funded studentships are available through the SWBio DTP, that applicants who would be classed as an International student are eligible for.  Further information about residence criteria >>

* An enhanced stipend is available for students with a recognised veterinary degree qualification (£24,090 per annum for 2021-2022). There may also be enhanced stipends associated with projects that have a CASE partner (CASE projects are highlighted as *CASE in the project lists).

** International students will not be required to cover the difference between home and international tuition fees.


Further funding information

Your PhD stipend:

Your student status:


Considerations for international students

A UKRI fully-funded studentship will only cover what is listed under the ‘UKRI-BBSRC funded studentship’ section.  However there may be other costs that you may encounter and need to take into consideration which will not be covered by the studentship or via the institution. For example, visa fees, healthcare surcharge, relocation costs and COVID-19 related quarantine costs.


Funding information for external-funded applicants >>