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Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships

We've worked with plant scientists to create ten excellent projects that address major plant health challenges identified by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The ten projects shown below will take place this summer, pairing a leading plant health researcher with an undergraduate student.

Applications for this year's studentships are now closed, and applicants will hear whether they have been successful by 31 May. Please follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our Plant Science Newsletter to be informed about applying to host or take part in a studentship in 2022.

We are grateful to Defra, British Society for Plant Pathology, Crop Protection Association, SCI Horticulture Group and David Colegrave Foundation for funding this programme.

 

------Projects running in 2021------

 

Publish a taxonomic re-description of an important plant pest following study of specimens from the Fera collection

Project location: This project will be managed in-person, at Fera Science Ltd, Sand Hutton, near York
Supervisor: Dr Tom Prior
Sponsor: Defra


 

Setting up target-based screening in plant-pathology: disrupting the "conductors" of plant-nematode parasitism

Project location: This project will be managed in-person, at the University of Cambridge
Supervisor: Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker
Sponsor: Defra


 

Developing next generation diagnostics to prevent establishment of fungal pathogens in UK fruit crops

Project location: This project will be managed remotely
Supervisor: Dr Andrew Armitage (Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich)
Sponsor: British Society for Plant Pathology


 

The barberry conundrum: counterbalancing biodiversity and managing crop pathogens

Project location: This project will be managed in-person, at John Innes Centre, Norwich
Supervisor: Dr Diane Saunders
Sponsor: British Society for Plant Pathology


Welch

Why does a pathogen fail to cause disease on plants other than its natural host?

Project location: This project will be managed remotely
Supervisor: Thomas Welch (University of Birmingham)
Sponsor: British Society for Plant Pathology


 

Modelling the return of wheat stem rust to the UK

Project location: This project will be managed remotely
Supervisor: Daniel Bebber (University of Exeter)
Sponsor: Defra


T.anthrisci 

Understanding the potential for transmission of Lso to crops by alternative psyllid vectors

Project Location: This project will be managed in-person, at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, Edinburgh
Supervisor: Fiona Highet MBE
Sponsor: Crop Protection Association


 

An analysis of Phytophthora diversity in plant nurseries and peat-free growing media

Project Location: This project will be managed in-person, at Forest Research, Edinburgh
Supervisor: Dr Sarah Green
Sponsor: SCI Horticulture Group


 

Development of a bioluminescent and biofluorescent assay to study the efficiency of bacterial seed sterilisation methods

Project Location: This project will be managed in-person, at University of Oxford
Supervisor: Dr Lauren Chappell
Sponsor: David Colegrave Foundation


Friman4

Development of in planta phage therapy against Ralstonia solanacearum plant pathogenic bacterium

Project Location: This project will be managed in-person, at University of York
Supervisor: Dr Ville-Petri Friman
Sponsor: Defra


About Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships

Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships aim to:

  • 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 and generate research outcomes in areas relevant to Defra’s plant health priorities.
  • Build networks of research groups, emerging scientists and employers with a focus on plant health.

Plant Health Undergraduate Studentships projects address at least one of the following priorities identified by Defra related to plant health:

Detection or control | Data & modelling | Globalisation of trade and risks to plant health | Host plants / Earth observations | High-risk pests or pathogens | Knowledge exchange | Oak health | Transboundary plant pests