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The biology and biotechnological potential of marine fungi bioprocessing.

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: BBSRC SWBio DTP funded CASE studentship available for September 2022 entry. The studentship will provide funding of fees and a stipend which is currently £15,609 per annum for 2022-23, on a full time basis.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd October 2021
Closes: 6th December 2021
Reference: 4284

Fungi are generally well-established bioprocessors with the ability to degrade and assimilate a broad range of biomass substrates and subsequently produce a wide variety of valuable biological resources.  

Marine fungi represent a novel and currently understudied resource for bioprocessing, both in terms of their fundamental underpinning biology and biotechnological applications. This PhD project will explore and study the bioprocessing potential of marine fungi from the recently established marine fungi culture collection at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth. Over 400 yeast and hyphal strains are available from a range of temperate and polar marine environments, including the deep open ocean and sea ice.     

In summary, the PhD project will screen the marine fungi culture collection, using a high-throughput approach, identifying specific fungal strain and substrate combinations of interest. The strain/substrates combinations will be studied in terms of underpinning biological mechanisms (e.g. substrate attachment and enzyme production) and potential biotechnological application (e.g. biomolecule  production).     

The PhD student will be able to utilise a broad range of opportunities available between the supervisory team, such as the marine fungi culture and imaging facilities at the MBA and biotechnological/bioprocessing experience and skills at Exeter/PML. 

The PhD student will also be encouraged and supported to engage with other relevant initiatives, including the BBSRC Networks in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (e.g. EBNet: Environmental Biotechnology Network). 

The award: 

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP). 

Eligibility 

To be eligible for a fully-funded studentship, you must meet both the academic and residence criteria. 

A fully-funded four year SWBio DTP studentship will cover 

  • a stipend* at the standard Research Council UK rate; currently £15,609 per annum for 2022-23
    •    research and training costs 
    •    tuition fees (at the standard Research Councils UK rate) 
    •    additional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month internship 

Please refer to the regulations or Annex 1 of the Research Council Training Grant Guide to confirm that you meet the residence criteria for a fully-funded studentship.  Any further queries in relation to residency must be directed to the institution that you are applying to. 

* An enhanced stipend is available for students with a recognised veterinary degree qualification (£24,090 per annum for 2022-23). There may also be enhanced stipends associated with projects that have a CASE partner (CASE projects are highlighted as *CASE in the project lists). 

Entry Requirements 

Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 1st or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.  Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Masters degree or significant relevant non-academic experience.   

In addition, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or equivalent qualification or experience is required.   

Equivalent qualifications/experience   

  • Physics A-level (grade B and above)  
  • Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant mathematical component*  

* eg maths, statistics, bioinformatics.  

Applicants must highlight their Maths background within their application and upload any supporting evidence.

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