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Why do weeds occur when and where they do?



Important description
Why do weeds occur when and where they do?
Weeds in farmers’ fields are usually patchy. There is, therefore, the opportunity to reduce herbicide applications, with economic and environmental benefits, by only spraying these patches. However, in order to manage the risk of missing weeds that might become a problem in future years we need to understand:

• exactly where the weed patches are
• why weeds are found in certain areas of the field
• where they might spread in the future

This project will use an exciting mix of field sampling and computer modelling to quantify the correlations between soil properties and weed patches. As well as contributing to the fundamental science underpinning precision agriculture, it will also complement an applied project designed to pinpoint the location of weed patches and developing weed patch spraying technology.

We are looking for a student wanting to apply their background in environmental or agricultural science or biology to one of the most important weeds for UK arable farmers today. We would also consider applicants whose main training is in mathematics or statistics. The project will involve some maths, statistics and computing and so the candidate should be interested in learning how to describe biological systems in mathematically.

The four-year PhD project will be supervised jointly at the University of Reading and Rothamsted Research and will include the opportunity to spend three months gaining experience in a relevant industry. The successful student will gain valuable skills and experience in an area of science of direct relevance to policy and the agricultural industry.

For further information on the project ""Modelling the causes of spatial and temporal variation in annual grass weeds in fields for precision weed management"" please contact Dt Jonanthan Storkey jonathan.storkey@rothamsted.co.uk.


Eligibility and other criteria
(European/UK Students Only)
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.


Application deadline
* 22 February 2013


Additional information, and important URL
http://www.reading.ac.uk/Study/apply/pg-applicationform.aspx

The studentship will cover a standard Research Council stipend rate (currently £13,590 per annum for 2012-2013), research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by the BBSRC.
To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Biochemistry/Food Science to the University of Reading– see http://www.reading.ac.uk/Study/apply/pg-applicationform.aspx .


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