University of Reading PhD Studentship Modelling the causes of spatial and temporal variation in annual grass weeds in fields for precision weed management



Supervisor: Dr Alistair Murdoch, Senior Lecturer in Crop and Weed Science

Why do weeds occur when and where they do

Weeds in farmers€™ fields are usually patchy. There is, therefore, the opportunity to reduce herbicide applications, with economic and environmental benefits, by only spraying these patches. However, in order to manage the risk of missing weeds that might become a problem in future years we need to understand:

€¢ exactly where the weed patches are;
€¢ why weeds are found in certain areas of the field;
€¢ where they might spread in the future.

This project will use an exciting mix of field sampling and computer modelling to quantify the correlations between soil properties and weed patches. As well as contributing to the fundamental science underpinning precision agriculture, it will also complement an applied project designed to pinpoint the location of weed patches and developing weed patch spraying technology.

We are looking for a student wanting to apply their background in environmental or agricultural science or biology to one of the most important weeds for UK arable farmers today. We would also consider applicants whose main training is in mathematics or statistics. The project will involve some maths, statistics and computing and so the candidate should be interested in learning how to describe biological systems in mathematically.

The four-year PhD project will be supervised jointly at the School of Agriculture at the University of Reading and Rothamsted Research and will include the opportunity to spend three months gaining experience in a relevant industry. The successful student will gain valuable skills and experience in an area of science of direct relevance to policy and the agricultural industry.

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Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a relevant subject. Please note that due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is for UK/EU applicants only.

Funding Details:  Studentship will cover Home/EU Fees and pay the Research Council minimum stipend (£13,590 for 2011/12) for up to 4 years. The studentship will begin in October 2013.

How to apply:  To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Agriculture  to the University €“ see http://www.reading.ac.uk/graduateschool/prospectivestudents/gs-how-to-apply.aspx

Please quote the reference €˜GS13-21€™ in the €˜Scholarships applied for€™ box which appears within the Funding Section of your online application.

Application Deadline:  Friday 24th July 2013

Further Enquiries:  Please contact Dr Alistair Murdoch at Reading ([email protected]) or Dr. Jonathan Storkey at Rothamsted ([email protected]).

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