Hydroponic Agronomy PhD Position

  • Full Time
  • Cardiff

Website phytoponics Phytoponics

Commercial hydroponic growing systems

Improved breeding and agronomy for hydroponic agriculture using the Phytoponic Hydrosac
Aberystwyth University, IBERS

Project ID: AU30013
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 20th July 2017

Hydroponic agriculture has significant potential to deliver impact in food production. The pressures on conventional agriculture, the increase in urban populations and the need for sustainable food with shorter supply chains all highlight the need for new ways to grow crops. It is therefore timely to consider what makes a successful hydroponic crop and how can we improve the agronomy of hydroponics to maximise the yield, efficiency of production and crop quality.

A studentship is available to work with Phytoponics (http://phytoponics.com/) and Aberystwyth University. Phytoponics is a hydroponic company in South Wales that developed the Hydrosac, a novel device for growing plants hydroponically that expands the range of applications of hydroponics. The Hydrosac opens up the opportunity to develop novel agronomy for large scale hydroponics and to develop varieties that are specifically selected for use in hydroponic agriculture.

The project will grow a diverse population from a range of potential salad crops in Hydrosacs. The experiment will identify suitable variation available to improve plant growth for hydroponic systems and will identify what characteristics are associated with superior performance to establish the characteristics that define a successful hydroponic crop. A major outcome will be to identify the potential impact of new breeding programmes specific for hydroponic agriculture.

The compact modular design of the Hydrosac permits a different approach to linking crops that either have complementary growth characteristics or that utilise nutrients differently. We will seek to identify and test combinations of crops with the aim of identifying a system that through multicropping optimally utilises space and extracts and utilises nutrients to minimise waste.

Our aims are to:

Identify crop phenotypes in hydroponic and conventional growing systems. From data hypothesise ideal plant characteristics for successful hydroponic agriculture.
Test how different crops may be optimally linked through hydroponics to maximise the use of nutrient and space.
Perform a large scale test of selected crop types to confirm in detail improvements in hydroponics using the Hydrosac for yield and nutrient content.
This studentship would suit a person that has a background in Biology but has some understanding of Plant Physiology and / or Horticulture. The individual will be a creative innovator interested in science that has an impact on our future. S/he must be numerate, possess strong writing skills and be able to project manage with a focus on responding to targets and delivering output.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

The successful candidate will need to be resident in the convergence area on registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification. The successful applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree, and be available to take up the studentship by 1st October 2017. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II PhD scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners).

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 20th July 2017.

A completed Research Programme Application Form, two references. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/
A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AU30013 in the top right hand box of the application form) and an up-to-date CV. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below.
http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/rbi/staff-students/knowledge-economy-skills-scholarships/currentscholarshipvacanciesandapplicationforms/

A PhD proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.

Value of Award: A stipend of £14,340 (rising in accordance with inflation for the remaining two years). Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II PhD Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 3 years. (Theses must be submitted 6 months after the funded three year study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the PhD).

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a KESS II award, you must be resident, upon starting the scholarship, in the Convergence Area of Wales and you must be able to take paid employment in the Convergence area on completion of the scholarship.

The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Gwynedd
Conwy
Denbighshire
Ceredigion
Carmarthenshire
Pembrokeshire
Swansea
Neath Port Talbot
Bridgend
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Caerphilly
Torfaen

For further student eligibility criteria related to the individual projects, please view the details of the individual project above.

Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Paul Robson at [email protected]  or 01970 823091

Address for applications:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Recruitment & Admissions
Student Welcome Centre
Aberystwyth University
Aberystwyth
SY23 3FB

Quote Reference AU30013

Closing date for applications 20th July 2017

To apply for this job please visit kess2.ac.uk.