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Nine undergraduate studentships in Plant Health to be carried out over the summer of 2018

Researchers, with the backing of their institution, who can offer research expertise and a high quality research experience for the student, may apply.

Funding is provided by Defra (4 studentships); BSPP (3 studentships) and N8 AgriFood (2 studentships).

The proposed research project must address at least one of the following themes:

  • Detection or control
  • Data & modelling
  • Trade
  • Host plants / earth observations
  • High-risk pests or pathogens
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Oak health
  • Social research - biosecurity behaviours

Applicants are encouraged to look at the risk register of current pests and pathogens on the UK Plant Health Risk Register.

Applicants will be asked to indicate the level of supervision the undergraduate can expect to receive during the placement.

Aims of the studentship

  • Address skills and capacity challenges in plant health science by providing attractive opportunities for research experience to suitable undergraduates, offering them the opportunity to undertake supervised research with leading research groups and encourage research proposals in eight areas relevant to Defra's plant health priorities.
  • Facilitate training of undergraduates in research practice.
  • Encourage research proposals in eight areas relevant to Defra’s plant health priorities.
  • Generate research outcomes relevant to Defra's priorities.
  • Build networks of research groups and emerging scientists with a focus on plant health.
  • Evaluate the potential of the scheme to add benefit if run in future years.


The awards provide support for the student at a rate of £200 per week, for a studentship period of 8-10 weeks. The bursaries produce no National Insurance contribution liability; £500 is available for costs to run the research. An additional £500 per studentship is available upon further application for enabling expenses, to support the student with the costs of travel, accommodation or conference attendance.

On completion of their project, students will be required to submit a scientific poster describing their research, a selection of which will be included in relevant RSB, UKPSF and Member Organisation publications.


  • Researchers at universities and research institutions within the UK are eligible to apply to host an undergraduate studentship. If successful, supervisors will be required to advertise their studentship nationally to eligible students* in collaboration with the RSB.
  • Supervisor applications from within the membership of the RSB, and our member organisations, are encouraged; those who are not RSB members are encouraged to consider the member application process. The nine successful supervisors will each receive 50% off their RSB membership fee for the following year (this will apply to the initial year of membership for newly-elected members).
  • Studentships funded by BSPP are available only to BSPP members; those funded by N8 AgriFood must have a supervisor or co-supervisor at the Universities of York or Durham.
  • Only one application should be submitted per supervisor.

* Eligible undergraduates who will apply directly to successful supervisors in April 2018

  • Students will normally take up the award during the summer vacation in the middle years (i.e. 2/3, 2/4 or 3/4) of their degree but final year undergraduates intending to continue to Masters or PhD may also be considered.
  • Mature students are eligible to apply.
  • Students must be registered at a UK institution for the majority of their undergraduate science degree.
  • Bursaries will not be awarded for projects that take place overseas for more than 50% of the project time.
  • The Royal Society of Biology will offer a year's free student membership to those students who are successful in their application.

How to apply

To apply, please log in or create an account on the RSB’s MySociety portal, then select ‘Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships’ from the Grants page, listed on the ‘Me and the RSB' tab, and complete the form.

There are nine awards available and we expect a significant number of applications; receipt of completed application before the deadline is essential.

Please read the guidelines before making an enquiry or completing the application form.

The closing date for applications is 10:00 on Monday 26th March 2018.


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