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Net Zero Crops: Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Linseed (PhD)

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Sponsored by the Cranfield Industrial PhD Partnership and Premium Crops, this fully funded studentship provides an annual bursary of up to £16,000 (tax free) plus cover fees for three years.
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 16th May 2022
Closes: 29th July 2022
Reference: SWEE0184

Eligible applicants: UK only

Duration full time 3 year

Duration part time 6 years

1st Supervisor: Dr Nick Girkin   

2nd supervisor: Dr Alice Johnston

3rd Supervisor: Dr Zoltan Kevei

Sponsored by the Cranfield Industrial PhD Partnership and Premium Crops, this fully funded studentship provides an annual bursary of up to £16,000 (tax free) plus cover fees for three years.

Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, including nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas approximately 300 times more powerful at driving climate warming than carbon dioxide. Linseed is emerging as a alternative to oil seed rape as an oil crop, and requires lower fertiliser inputs. However, more information is needed to assess the scale of greenhouse gas emissions from linseed and understand how linseed is regulating soil health.

Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, largely driven by fertiliser applications. This includes the production of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG) approximately 300 times more powerful at driving climate warming than carbon dioxide over 100 years. Addressing this challenge requires optimisation of fertiliser management for individual crops, but also an understanding of the underlying processes.

Linseed is emerging as a popular replacement for oilseed rape (OSR), which is currently suffering from declining yields. Linseed has a growing market for human and animal consumption, primarily because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Currently it has a high commercial value (£400-£500 per ton). This has led to a doubling of the area under cultivation in the UK in 2020 (33,000 ha). Compared to OSR, linseed generally requires lower fertiliser inputs (80–130 kg N ha-1 versus 125-280 kg N ha-1). Lower soil nitrogen inputs reduce soil nitrous oxide production, thereby potentially improving agricultural sustainability and contributing to UK net-zero targets.

This project will address this challenge through measuring differences in GHG emissions, crop physiology, and soil processes. This will ultimately allow the identification of both best management practices for linseed, but also ultimately the identification of specific crop traits that might underpin the future development of Net Zero varieties for linseed.

The successful student will receive training in a range of field and will have the option to undertake a placement with the project sponsor and present findings.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or second class UK degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline, such as biology, plant sciences, chemistry, agricultural or environmental sciences.

Funding

Applicants must be UK nationals. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.

How to apply

For further information: n.t.girkin@cranfield.ac.uk;

Name: Dr Nick Girkin; Dr Alice Johnston;  Dr Zoltan Kevei

T: (0) 1234 750111

Please complete the online application form.

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