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The Royal Society of Biology (RSB) invites applications from researchers wishing to host undergraduate studentships in plant health over the summer of 2020. Ten awards are available.

Please read our guidance for applicants before making an enquiry or completing an application form.

The closing date for applications is 17 March 2020 at 23:59.

Undergraduate students should not apply for this round of the awards, but are invited to apply for placements that will be advertised here in early April.

Funding for the 2020 programme is provided by Defra (4 studentships), BSPP (3 studentships), Crop Protection Association (1 studentship), SCI Horticulture Group (1 studentship) and David Colegrave Foundation (1 studentship)..

The proposed research project must address at least one of the following themes related to plant health, pests and diseases:

  • 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

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

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


The awards provide support for the student at a rate of £250 per week for a studentship period of 8-10 weeks. The bursaries produce no National Insurance contribution liability. Each award includes £500 for costs to run the research; further research expenses are not offered under this scheme.

On completion of their project, students will be required to produce a poster about their research project. These may 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 a Plant Health Undergraduate Studentship.

Post-doctoral researchers with the support of their PI may apply to host a Plant Health Undergraduate Studentship. PhD students/candidates are not eligible for this award.

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 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.

Only one application should be submitted per supervisor.

Successful projects will be widely advertised by the RSB from April 2020.

Undergraduate students will be invited to submit applications for selection by the supervisor of each project. If desired by the supervisor, RSB can provide input into the process of selecting an undergraduate student.

Aims of the studentship

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.

How to apply

To apply, please log in or create an account on the RSB’s mySociety portal, then complete the application form.

Please read the guidance for applicants before making an enquiry or completing the application form.

The closing date for applications is 23:59 on Tuesday 17th March 2020.


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