BBSRC iCASE PhD studentship: Assessing the Impact of Zero Tillage on Agrochemical Efficacy
Closing Date Tuesday, 12th May 2020
Soil is the most complex biomaterial on earth, yet our understanding of how its form influences its function is still poorly understood. This is due to the opacity of soils however, exciting new methods to image soil systems, such as X-ray Computed Tomography now provide a means to explore this hidden underworld. Soil is the largest land-based reservoir of carbon on Earth. Changes in the management of agricultural soils can affect their role as a source or sink in the global carbon cycle, and the scale and composition of their greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Conservation Agriculture’ approaches such as those that reduce cultivation are gathering pace in adoption globally. There is increasing evidence that by reducing or ceasing to plough (i.e. zero tillage), a soil structure evolves, over time, which improves soil health/quality whilst maintaining crop yield. Recent data has shown there are also advantages in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced carbon sequestration. While the adoption of zero tillage in globally has been rapid, the UK, has been slower to respond with currently only c. 50% under min tillage and around 10% under zero tillage. Evidence that outlines the implications for the adoption of zero tillage in the UK is urgently needed.
A key area not yet assessed is the impact of tillage on the bio-performance of soil applied agrochemicals despite empirical evidence from the field indicating product performance is indeed affected. In partnership with Syngenta, and using a combination of field and laboratory work, the overarching aim is to illustrate how, and over what time scales, soil structure obtained under zero tillage impacts on agrochemical product performance.
The project will be supervised by Prof Sacha Mooney and Dr. Craig Sturrock.
Entry Requirement: This is a multidisciplinary project that would best suit applicants with a strong interest in applying preparative chemistry to functionalising proteins and the characterisation of the resulting conjugates. Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent).
It is fully funded for four years. The award would be fees (£4409 p.a.) plus an annual stipend (£15,285 p.a. for Oct 2020), set by the Research Councils.
How to apply:
The preferred start date is 01/10/20. Candidates are therefore encouraged to apply via https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/bbdtp/apply/apply-online.aspx as soon as possible.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Sacha Mooney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details about the project or visiting https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/bbdtp/case-2020/case-2020.aspx
Closing date: noon, Tuesday 12 May 2020. Please note it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the references are sent in good time for the deadline.
Eligibility: This fully-funded studentship is available to UK students and EU students who have lived in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of their studies. EU students without meeting this criteria are eligible for a fees-only award.