PhD Studentship: Predicting Crop Disease from Molecular Assessment of the Distribution and Quantification of Soil-borne Plant Pathogens

Newcastle University

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,777.  International students are welcome to apply but may be required to provide the additional top-up fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

Start Date - To be confirmed. Duration for 3 years.

Application closing date

Midnight, 29 April 2018.


A fully funded studentship for three years is available to work on the challenges of managing soils for optimum soil health and suppression of pathogens in agricultural soils. The work will extend efforts to develop and demonstrate robust DNA-based diagnostics for routine monitoring of soil borne pathogens and identification of the best management practices to minimise disease risk.  It will build on the ongoing work of the AHDB's soil health platform and provide the student with the theoretical and applied knowledge necessary to tackle real-world problems on UK farms using state-of-the-art molecular techniques.

Full Details at:


Institute of Agri-Food Research and Innovation (IAFRI) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr John Elphinstone and Dr Ed Haynes (FERA Science Ltd), Dr Julia Cooper and Dr Giles Budge (Newcastle University).

Eligibility Criteria

A first class or upper second class degree in biology or a related subject is essential. The ideal candidate will have experience with molecular and biochemistry techniques and knowledge of agronomy in the UK context.

The position is based primarily at FERA Science Ltd, Sand Hutton, York, but will require regular visits to Newcastle University for training and development activities. Field work is expected to be conducted at a range of sites identified by AHDB across England. Willingness to travel and a valid UK driving license are desirable.

100% UK/EU fees are provided. International students are welcome to apply but may be required to provide the additional top-up fees.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • insert the programme code 8010F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD in Agriculture and Rural Development (full time) – Agriculture’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code NES004 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Only mandatory fields need to be completed. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the reference number NES004 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project. Shortlisted candidates will be called for interview during the last week in March 2018.


Informal enquiries can be made by email or telephone to Dr John Elphinstone ( or Dr Julia Cooper (;  0191 208 6883).

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Northern England