Climate KIC funded 3-year PhD Studentship

Project title: Optimising water management of plants to support the provision of multiple ecosystem services by urban vegetation 

Supervisors: Dr Tijana Blanusa (Royal Horticultural Society and School of Agriculture Policy and Development) and Professor Paul Hadley (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development), University of Reading

The Project:

A PhD studentship, fully funded by the Climate-KIC programme of EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) is available from October 2013 for 3 years to study the means of sustainable irrigation of alternative green roof species (e.g. see Blanusa et al., 2013) and herbaceous perennial urban vegetation in general. The PhD will be supervised by Dr Tijana Blanusa and Professor Paul Hadley and will involve collaboration with Prof Cedo Maksimovic and Dr Linda Davies from the Imperial College London.

The proposed PhD project links tightly to the recently funded Blue Green Dream (BGD) (Climate KIC Innovation) Project. The project is coordinated by Imperial College London involves 18 academic and industrial partners from EU. The overall aim of the BDG is to work towards integrating the urban water (blue) and urban green infrastructure (i.e. vegetation), so that they support each other rather than functioning disjointedly.

This PhD project will provide the information to support the blue-green interactions by placing emphasis on ‘green’ elements of the BGD project. It will analyse how differences in plant biology among several plant groups can be exploited to maximise the provision of a number of important urban ecosystem services by these plants (building insulation and evaporative cooling, rainfall and air pollutant trapping). The support to the “blue” element of the BGD will be through investigation of the routes for sustainable water management (use of grey and recycled rainwater) of the species likely to provide the most effective combination of ecosystem services.

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Eligibility and requirements: 

  • Applicants should hold a minimum of a BSc Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in Biological or Environmental Science or similar, and have a strong interest in environmental plant physiology. Experience of and / or willingness to be trained to use modelling tools to integrate the results of the research with the adopted interfaces and models of the IMS is required.
  • There will be a requirement for a successful candidate to interact with several stakeholders (e.g. Royal Horticultural Society – to provide some practical advice for the domestic end users, as well as industrial collaborators – from irrigation or blue/green roofing sectors etc.) in a consistent and committed manner while generating novel data for the PhD and providing useful practical information for the funder.
  • The accepted candidate will be requested to undergo training provided by the Climate-KIC programme

Funding Details:  

  • This is a 3-year PhD studentship funded by the Climate KIC programme.
  • The studentship will cover UK/EU Fees and pay the stipend of £15,600 per annum for 3 years, starting from October 2013. Non-EU applicants are asked to note that they will be required to cover the difference between UK/EU and international fees.

How to apply: 

Eligible applicants are asked to register their interest by e-mailing their CV and a statement regarding their suitability for this research studentship to: Anna Mieleszko, Postgraduate (PhD) Administrator, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading,

Please quote studentship application reference GS13-26 in all correspondence.

Application Deadline: 22 April 2013

Further Enquiries:  

For further details of the PhD programme or an informal discussion please contact Tijana Blanusa (

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