PhD Studentship Investigating opportunities for environmental improvements in arable systems using long term Scottish data sets



SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, delivers comprehensive skills, education and business support for Scotland’s land-based industry founded on world class, sector leading research, education and consultancy. Our 1500 staff are located on 6 campuses and around 40 business units across Scotland and the North of England.

The PhD project will examine if agronomic best practice can reduce the carbon foot print involved in crop production and if there is an opportunity for mitigation in the gap between best practice and actual practice. It will use long term data sets at SRUC, for example trial data from its agronomy centres dating back to the early 1980s which includes drilling and harvest dates, inputs, rotation and disease levels.  Other long term data sets include monitoring of commercial crops for the Scottish Government for 30 years covering crop sowing dates, variety choice and disease levels. The data from the agronomy centres presents best and worse case scenarios each season where disease was heavily managed or not and from this, trends in yield potential over time can be tracked.  Inputs should be tailored to seasonal need and the project will investigate whether this is the case in commercial practice and will quantify the departure from best practice, which may represent a potential to mitigate for the green house gas emissions involved in crop production. Actual adaptations over the same period will also be assessed.  This project aims to identify practices for future crops and crop systems which will improve yield and resource use in the face of climate change and other potential yielding limiting factors such as new or emerging diseases.

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The student will be registered for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh and will be based within the Crop and Soil Systems Group at SRUC, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh. Applicants should have or expect to obtain a minimum of an upper second class honours degree in economics, environmental sciences and/or biological sciences. Applicants should ideally have an understanding of arable systems and have experience of data handling and analysis. Excellent oral and writing skills are required to a high standard. A clean and valid UK/ European driving licence is desirable. The studentship offers a stipend of £13,726 per annum and is funded to pay the University of Edinburgh tuition fees for UK/EU students. The expected start date is October 2013 and this studentship is 3.5 years in length.

Online applications for this post can be submitted via the ‘Apply’ button below. Alternatively application packs can be requested from [email protected]  Tel 0131 535 4028 quoting reference SRUC/1027320/Burnett. Please note that CV’s will not be accepted without a completed application form. To have an informal discussion about this studentship, contact Dr Fiona Burnett, SRUC, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh Tel: 0131 535 4213 [email protected]

The closing date for the return of applications is 5pm on 26 July 2013

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