PhD Studentship: New Technologies to Replace Neonicotinoid Pesticides in the Control of Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle on Rapeseed

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Location: John Innes Centre, Norwich

Start Date: 1st October 2018

Supervisor: Professor Steven Penfield

Project description: Applications are invited for a PhD project aiming to create the underlying knowledge required to help develop new more environmentally-friendly approaches to controlling the key insect pest on rapeseed, the cabbage stem flea beetle. Flea beetles had previously been effectively controlled by neonicotinoid seed treatments, but the current usage ban in Europe based on toxic effects on bee populations mean that we need new and more specific approaches to protecting rapeseed crops from flea beetle damage. Central to this effort is the need to understand the molecular genetics of the interaction between flea beetles and the rapeseed crop in more detail. In this project you will develop methods for analysing the molecular events that enable flea beetles to overcome rapeseed plant defences and successfully attack the crop. You will use new genomic tools to understand plant responses to insect feeding, and use modern breeding techniques to identity and characterise sources of resistance to flea beetle attack using exotic brassica germplasm collections from our commercial partner. The project will run closely with the rapeseed breeding company Limagrain and will include opportunities to take secondments at Limagrain and to exploit their field trials programme and genetic tools for your project. Thus the student will gain extensive experience in public and private sector crop science research during the PhD. The project will suit students who wish to undertake a career in crop science, entomology, plant breeding or related disciplines, either in the public or private sector.

This Industrial CASE project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition on either the 9th, 10th or 11th January 2018.

The Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP) offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4 year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers.

For further information and to apply, please visit our website: http://biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/the-programme/industrial-case

Person specification: Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply.

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,553pa – 2017/8), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements. Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England