Apply now: THYME Bioeconomy Research Cluster (3 PhD Scholarships available)
The University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU/International PhD Scholarship for candidates applying for each of the three following projects.
Closing date: Friday 6 March 2020
Studentships start: September 2020
Apply via: www.hull.ac.uk/phd
Summary of Cluster
The THYME project brings together the bioeconomy expertise of the Universities of Teesside, Hull and York, to find research solutions, to decrease our reliance on non-renewable energy resources and drive innovation in the way we manage land assets.
Our region has the potential to become world leading in securing food, water and energy whilst adapting to the challenges of climate change.
The Energy and Environment Institute, at the University of Hull, is offering funded PhD scholarships as part of the THYME project to work with academic research leaders across the university to focus on the following priority areas within the bioeconomy.
Summary of PhD Project 1:
Nematode genomics and metagenomics to address agricultural threat
Crop pests and pathogens cause very significant losses to agriculture and are a continuing threat to an efficient agricultural bio-economy. Plant parasitic nematodes parasitize all human crops and are responsible for very large losses in agricultural productivity worldwide. There are two global challenges to agricultural management of plant parasitic nematodes. Firstly, our lack of understanding of the basic biology, genetics, and diversity of parasitic nematodes in both agricultural fields and close non-agricultural habitats. This can be addressed by the application of modern high throughput genomics and bioinformatics. The second challenge concerns the efficient translation of our modern techniques and knowledge to the benefit of the end user, usually the farmer, government agency, or agri-industry.
This project will build on our world class research, and publication record in the area of plant parasitic nematode genomics. It will investigate the nature of divergence of different plant parasitic nematode species, and how they may have adapted to exploit unique crops and environments. The project will take both a global view of pathogen divergence and diversity, and focus this towards its relevance for the regional bioeconomy.
We are looking to appoint an applicant with demonstrable relevant computational genomics skills, the ability to work in python or shell scripts in a reproducible manner, and the desire and knowledge to address fundamental questions with this biological system. Applicants for this project should have a 1st class undergraduate degree in biological science with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.
Summary of PhD Project 2:
Linking landscape processes and bioeconomies through translation of pollen archives
Our ability to work with the landscape and maximise the benefits derived from natural processes depends on being able to predict the behaviour of complex systems over long time periods using computer models. The reliability of these models as predictors of the future comes largely from testing and calibrating them against good data for past situations, but historical data (e.g. old maps) is often incomplete or lacking detail. Long-term records of past environments are preserved in pollen records in sedimentary archives, but these need to be translated into maps or other data formals which are appropriate for use as model inputs, as well as for direct use e.g. defining reasonable baselines for system functioning, better appreciation of system vulnerability and thresholds, and to interrogate both models of the future and social constructions of the past in ways which enhance landscape management and the bioeconomy. Land cover is critical for many other landscape processes such as carbon fluxes, albedo, and flood storage capacity.
This project will firstly develop a new generation of software designed to reconstruct past land cover from pollen records using the Multiple Scenario Approach, developed in Hull. Secondly, the project will focus on applying the software to reconstruct the historical development of the regional landscape using mostly existing data to investigate questions relating to how the region might wish to develop landscape to enhance flood resilience, food & energy security or carbon capture for example, to support regional adaption and resilience to climate change.
We are looking to appoint an applicant with demonstrable computational skills and should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in relevant subjects such as geography, geology or computer science, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.
Please contact Dr Jane Bunting (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Summary of PhD Project 3
Green production of carbonaceous materials from biomass and waste plastics
Nano-materials offer huge promise for making many kinds of new products. Because of their size, their behaviour can be radically different from the bulk materials.
This research project will focus on the development of sustainable, safe and environmentally friendly carbonaceous nano-materials from agricultural waste and waste plastics, as a novel element in a wide range of potential applications.
Carbonaceous materials have a wide range of high-tech applications such as flexible display panels, fibre-reinforced composites, energy storage, catalyst support, sports equipment, dielectric electromagnetic absorbers, automotive and aerospace-related products and application of wastewater treatment. Their performance, as well as the number of potential applications, can be further increased by combining them with functional materials.
The research will involve the application of advanced processing techniques to synthesise, manipulate and functionalise the nano-carbonaceous materials.
Detailed chemical and functional characterisation of the raw materials and composites will then allow materials to be optimised for potential use in high-tech applications.
We are looking to appoint an applicant with demonstrable laboratory skills with desire to be part of an active research community focused on creating valuable materials from waste streams. Applicants for this project should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in chemical engineering, materials science or relevant applied physical science. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.
Please contact Dr Sharif Zein (email@example.com) if you have questions.
For more information, or to apply please visit: www.hull.ac.uk/phd
Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU’ student rate and maintenance (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.
PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.