The potential for amino-acid based biostimulants to increase resilience to abiotic stress and sustainably fertilize grass – MRes Scholarship

The potential for amino-acid based biostimulants to increase resilience to abiotic stress and sustainably fertilize grass

Location: Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University

Project ID: BUK2E079
Annual Stipend: £11,937 p.a.
Application Deadline: 22 July 2022.

Applications are invited for this one-year fully-funded Masters by Research (MRes) at Bangor University looking at amino-acid based biostimulants to increase resilience to abiotic stress and sustainably fertilize grass. The research project is being undertaken jointly with ICL Fertilizers. The aims of the project are to investigate whether single or specific blends of amino acids can a) increase resilience of grass to extreme weather events, i.e. prolonged flooding and extreme droughts, and b) become the basis of a new foliar applied nitrogen fertiliser with improved nitrogen use efficiency. Growers are under increasing pressure to deliver sustainable grass production by adopting management strategies that contribute to challenging environmental targets such as Net Zero, reduced ammonia emissions and reduced nitrate leaching. Moreover, growers are experiencing increasing frequencies of prolonged flooding and drought. The development and use of biostimulants that offer increased resilience to abiotic stress, and that additionally offer more sustainable nitrogen use, addresses all of these challenges.

The project will involve plot- and pot-scale experimentation using isotopes and state-of-the-art gas analysers to assess the efficacy of different amino-acids to provide resilience of grass to single and combined abiotic stress events, and measure grass growth and nitrogen losses, including ammonia volatilisation, greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching. The project is an exciting opportunity for candidates interested in an applied research career, and will provide excellent training for a student interested in studying for a future PhD.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant and large research group with a long-standing partnership with ICL Fertilizers, led by the team of Prof Dave Chadwick, Dr Kara Marsden and Prof Davey Jones. The post will be located in Environment Centre Wales which was recently ranked #1 by the UK 2022 Research Excellence Framework for its research impact in environmental science. The successful candidate will have their own office space and full access to the research facilities available at the Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University.

The MRes is funded by the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships East (KESS 2 East) supported by European Social Fund (ESF) through the Welsh Government and is directly linked to ICL Fertilisers Ltd. The department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in Science, Engineering and Technology.

For informal discussion on the position, interested candidates may contact Professor Dave Chadwick (d.chadwick@bangor.ac.uk) before submitting their application.

Entry Requirements

Prospective candidates will be assessed on how well they meet the following essential criteria:

  • A high 2:1 Bachelors-level honours degree in Environmental Science, Biology, Biosciences, Geography, Environmental Engineering or related subject
  • Experience in undertaking a research project.
  • Experience of statistical analysis.
  • Basic laboratory skills.
  • Strong evidence of understanding of current environmental issues.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience in the collection and analysis of environmental samples

To apply, send a CV and covering letter to Professor Dave Chadwick (d.chadwick@bangor.ac.uk) and cc to Penny Dowdney p.j.dowdney@bangor.ac.uk by 22nd July 2022.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2 East) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in East Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.