Determination of the most appropriate cell sources and harvest methods for in vitro culturing of pig meat (PhD Scholarship)

Determination of the most appropriate cell sources and harvest methods for in vitro culturing of pig meat

Aberystwyth University, IBERS

Project ID: AU30027
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 5th September 2018

In vitro cultured meat has the potential to provide an opportunity for UK agriculture to improve meat production and so, is a key technology for the future to meet increasing global food demands. Livestock can be utilised as a tool to manage land for environmental purpose, whilst creating a by-product whereby those animals are harvested as cell donors for in vitro culture of meat. These would be small-scale herds, kept to extremely high welfare standards where the cells, rather than the animals, provide the value.

The aim of this PhD project is to establish a suitable source of cells for an efficient in vitro culture system by elucidating whether there are differences in cell attributes between pig breeds. Specifically, the project will map known pig breed phenotypic and genotypic data to new myocyte culture data that the project will generate. The majority of the project will be based on in vitro tissue culture work and laboratory analysis of these samples to investigate specific biomarkers (genes or proteins) or cell structures of interest. The project will also determine a harvesting protocol for cells from pigs which maintains a high welfare standard, as well as culture efficiency.

This exciting PhD project will be based at IBERS, Aberystwyth University and will combine tissue culture expertise within IBERS with cultured meat expertise of Cellular Agriculture Ltd, the first in vitro cultured meat business established in the UK. The project will continue Cellular Agriculture’s existing work of establishing an efficient tissue culturing process for porcine myocytes, with a view to moving towards large-scale efficient in vitro meat culture in the future.

The prospective applicant should have a minimum of a 1st or good 2:1 in a relevant degree, and be available to take up the studentship by 1st October 2018. The project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. KESS II PhD scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners. (Applicants need to only apply, they do not need to search for partners.)

Applicants who would like to discuss this PhD project opportunity in more detail are encouraged to contact either Dr Ruth Wonfor ( or Dr Michael Rose (

To apply, please submit the following to the Postgraduate Admissions Office (address below) by 28th June 2018:

  1. A completed Research Programme Application Form, two references. Application and reference forms may be downloaded from
  2. A completed KESS II Participant proposal form (put the reference number AU30027 in the top right hand box of the application form) and an up-to-date CV. KESS II application forms are available to download at the link below.

  1. A PhD proposal of up to 1,000 words where you expand on your experience and interests and describe why you are a good candidate for this research studentship. Please refer to the Project Description.

Value of Award: A stipend of £14,340 (rising in accordance with inflation for the remaining two years). Each scholarship has an additional budget for travel, equipment/consumables and training to support your research. KESS II PhD Scholarship holders do not pay fees.

Length: Full-time for 3 years. (Theses must be submitted 6 months after the funded three year study period.)

Training: The achievement of a Postgraduate Skills Development Award (PSDA) is compulsory for each KESS II scholar (The PSDA is based on a 60 credit award, which is an additional award to the PhD).

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply for a KESS II award, you must be resident, upon starting the scholarship, in the Convergence Area of Wales and you must be able to take paid employment in the Convergence area on completion of the scholarship.

The Convergence Area means the following counties of Wales:

Isle of Anglesey
Neath Port Talbot
Rhondda Cynon Taff

For further student eligibility criteria related to the individual projects, please view the details of the individual project above.

Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Ruth Wonfor ( or Dr Michael Rose (

Address for applications:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Recruitment & Admissions
Student Welcome Centre
Aberystwyth University
SY23 3FB

Quote Reference AU30027

Closing date for applications 5th September 2018