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Defra-funded undergraduate studentships in plant health to be carried out over summer 2017


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

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

  • Detection or control
  • Data & modelling
  • Trade
  • Host plants
  • High-risk pests or pathogens
  • Knowledge exchange 

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.
  • Facilitate training of undergraduates in research practice.
  • Encourage research proposals in six 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 £300 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.

Students will be required to submit a short (2-4 sides of A4) report on completion of their project, 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.
  • Only one application should be submitted per supervisor.
  • If successful, the supervisor will be offered £500 for the cost of the research.
  • 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 four 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).

* Eligible undergraduates who will apply directly to successful supervisors in February 2017

  • 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 all successful students 1 year's free student membership.

How to apply

There are four 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 was 17:00 on Friday 20th January 2017.


Please direct queries to